Pomo Results

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Sun, 8 Oct 1995 08:32:51 +0900

Dear Colleagues,

When I wrote my note asking for pomo results in
anthropology, I thought I was being pretty clear about the
kind of thing I was looking for. I took some pains to point out
how Kondo's pomo concerns lead to fresh but (in principle)
repeatable observations concerning the ways in which
power, position and gender affect the ways people talk about
themselves. My plea for additional examples has produced
reading lists, one item from Matt Tomaso, a half-dozen or so
from Rich Warms. Denise O'Brien does a bit better with,

>>To the query how has pomo influenced current
anthropology, in addition to the examples already cited
(especially Kondo), I would add: Lavie, Smadar The Poetics
of Military Occupation:Mzeina Allegories of Bedouin Identity
Under Israeli and Egyptian Rule. U.California (1990)
Lavie's book is a superb ethnography that incorporates a
good many pomo tendencies, more satisfactorily than many
of its merely trendy companions. From the title, to the
graphics of the title page, to the book and chapter epigraphs,
to the way the book is written, to the role of the author
(represented in the text as I/the anthropologist/The One
Who Writes Us), to the consciously polyphonic text, to the
photographs, to Lavie's political identity, awareness, and
stance----well, I could go on and on---but, read the book!"

Still, can we take it as given that pomo has influenced
anthropological writing? What I'm hoping to see is even one
small paragraph (two or three sentences will do nicely),
describing a significant RESULT of pomo research. The world
is full of books. What has whoever you want to cite added to
our general knowledge of the world?

I am not saying that I don't enjoy reading post-modernist
anthropologists. I do. I am looking for reasons to read them
that go beyond the frisson I feel when reading, for example,
William Gibson, or other cyperpunk SF authors. If the claim
is that what we are doing is nothing more than providing a
kind of exotic titillation (adding our own particular smells to
a compost heap of simulacra), so that, for example, academic
journals turn out to be a species of fanzine, then our claims
to significance--and the public purse that supports our
hobbies--are meagre indeed.

John McCreery

P.S. Thanks to Denise for recommending the Lavie. I have
myself just finished reading Said, Edward, _Peace and Its
Discontents_ and am eager to learn more about a place and a
people from whom I have tended to avert my eyes.