Re: Mutilation as a legitimate object of inquiry

Holly Swyers (swyersh@INTERPORT.NET)
Mon, 15 Jul 1996 15:59:48 -0400

On July 15, 1996, Adrienne Dearmas wrote:

>A thought - and I am_ not_ being nasty. I get the impression that it is only
>Western forms of mutilations that are boring to Mike and that only those
>concerning males which are important. I base this on his breakdown of
>mutilations with merit as posted on 7-14-96. Am I wrong?

This comment got me thinking...
If a Maori were to read an ethnographic report about his/her culture, would
s/he say "Hey, why are they focusing on this tattooing stuff? Boy have
they missed the meat of our culture."

How instructional are the responses of our peers when we turn the
ethnographic lens on our own culture?

Can we turn the ethnographic lens on our own culture and present it in a
meaningful way that will help us arrive at the components of "the human

If we cannot, are we justified in saying we can do the same with the "Other"?

Just some rainy Monday afternoon thoughts.


"...for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
- William Shakespeare, _Hamlet_ (II, ii, 247-48)