Re: Active Ethnography

Michael John Evans (g8726246@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Sun, 16 Jan 1994 14:02:19 -0500

emotionally and socially impaired. It seems to me that you cannot live
and work with/among people without getting "involved"; remember the
participant part of our disciplinary panacia. Sometimes this means
getting politically involved, sometimes not; but all healthy human
relationships involve reciprocity of various kinds. You can't study what
you can't do. This "just to collect data to write a disertation" line is
a gross over simplification; It is a rare anthropologist disfunctional
enough to pull something like that off.
As far as having involvement effecting the data, well, what else.
People and process don't hold still, nor are they so friable that one
anthropoid is going to twist things beyond authenticity. As much of the
interpretive literature points out, it is the fiction of people and
cultures running in place for the sake of ethnographic representation
that is inauthentic. You don't need to be pomo to appreciate this, simply
a social scientist with (as a phrase from my youth poetically puts it),
"two eyes and an asshole".

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Mike Evans, Anthropology &/ Heather Young-Leslie, Anthropology
McMaster University, Hamilton /or: York University, North York,
Ontario. (905) 525 9140 x23907 Ontario Canada (416) 736 5261
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