On the Work and Writing of Ethnography

Michael Jackson

in Between One and One Another

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780520272330
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951914 | DOI:
On the Work and Writing of Ethnography

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Having explored several variations on the theme of human existence as a continual interplay between the hypothetical poles of being-in-oneself and being-with-others, this chapter now considers the methodological ramifications of this theme in the work and writing of ethnography. It focuses on the ethical question of how it is possible, in our ethnographic fieldwork and writing, to reconcile our intellectual preoccupations with the often radically different preoccupations of our interlocutors. How, in brief, can we strike a balance between doing justice to the people who accept us into their communities, sharing their life experiences and scarce resources, and satisfy the demands of the profession to which we belong and from which we make our living? This dilemma also finds expression in our existential struggle in the field to maintain a balance between preserving and losing our sense of personal identity.

Keywords: human existence; ethnography; life experience; personal identity

Chapter.  9262 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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