in Navigators of the Contemporary

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226887517
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226887531 | DOI:

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This chapter argues that the ethnographer of present situations must be not only a navigator but also a trader. She or she must bring different structures into intellectual conjunction. The ethnographer intentionally mixes ideas, mirroring the social mixing of contemporary life. Ethnography also has a less than total commitment to the object of its inquiry, and therefore free to be rather purely intellectual. The ethnographer does not want (should not want) to go native, to become an islander or a genetic engineer, but as a result, he or she may be able to think and is almost certainly able to say things that people who are completely embedded cannot. Distance—not being completely there—can provide perspective and freedom to speak.

Keywords: ethnography; ethnographers; cultural anthropology

Chapter.  2105 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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