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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Ethnography for present situations is, obviously, concerned with the present. The present may be thought of as simultaneously a vantage point and the time under investigation. Since a vantage point is invisible to one standing on it, refunctioned ethnography tends to pay attention to the near future and to the recent past in order to approach the present infinitesimally. The “present” with which ethnography of present situations is concerned contains a narrative. Conversations may be about how things are now, albeit a “now” that is constructed over against ideas about what the recent past and/or the near future mean. Ethnography for present situations attempts to identify, articulate, and interrogate the emergent—that which is coming out of our past and shaping our future but which we must cope with right now.

Keywords: refunctioned ethnography; ethnographers; present situations

Chapter.  2383 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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