Re: Serious thoughts about objectivity

Michael Cahill (MCBlueline@AOL.COM)
Wed, 9 Oct 1996 09:22:12 -0400

<< So the informant says, (if asked) "Why, no, I'm not involved in this issue
with that group, I just went over there to talk and arrange some little
things." Meanwhile the ethnographer says to herself, "Hmmn, he sure looked
like a ritual go-between to me, because I've observed other actors
fulfilling the same role in similar situations. So I'll just call him a
ritual go-between in this very real role no matter what he calls himself or
how he explicates his acts." >>

Let me bring "events composed" back into this briefly.

Suppose Wade plays down the informant's statement to the effect that he's not
engaging in a ritual go-between and that no such event is going on here.
Instead, our ethnographer reasons, "if it walks like a duck and it quacks
like a duck, it's a duck," and counts it as an instance of go-betweening.

Has Wade fictionalized a non-event?

If Wade goes with the informant's statement and doesn't count the act as an
instance of go-betweening, has he "non-truth-alized" an event?

Or should Wade be less concerned about these questions and more with others
-- for example, "why is there an apparent contradiction between what my eyes
are seeing and what my ears are hearing?"

Mike Cahill