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Misunderstood, misrepresented, contested? Anthropological knowledge production in question

Mosse, David (2015) 'Misunderstood, misrepresented, contested? Anthropological knowledge production in question.' Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, 72. pp. 128-137.

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Abstract

This article draws out some of the implications of the fact that what anthropologists claim to know, or want to say, is unavoidably and in complicated ways bound by the ethics of involvement, detachment, and institutional location. I will first consider the increasingly common practice of circulating the output of anthropological research within the social context of its fieldwork, among the various research participants and interlocutors. Second, I will try to account for the sometimes negative reception of ethnographic accounts, especially where the research has focused on organizations (e.g., NGOs), activists, or others professionally concerned with public representations of their work. Third, I will reconsider the notion of “speaking truth to power” by pointing to the unacknowledged power of ethnographic description. Finally, I will suggest that ethical concerns are generated as much by thetheoretical framing of research as by fieldwork practice, and that these are matters of choice rather than inherent in the ethnographic method.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN: 09201297
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.3167/fcl.2015.720111
Depositing User: David Mosse
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 10:47
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21275

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