Chapter

Theory

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226887531.003.0012
Theory

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The practice of cultural anthropology may be divided into three parts: (1) the tradition, especially as taught, that forms the intellectual context from which fieldwork is begun; (2) the ethnographic encounter, that is, the intentional staging of conversations in order to articulate the situation under investigation; and (3) writing that is imagined to contribute to the academic field itself, bringing things full circle. The student encounters these three parts (“theory,” “fieldwork,” and “writing”) in roughly this chronological order. This chapter asks how the different stance urged in this book affects the role of those enterprises within “cultural anthropology.” It suggests that if we are serious about refunctioning ethnography to confront present situations in the world, we will find not only a new world out there, but that neither “theory,” “fieldwork,” nor “ writing” will mean the same things back home, within those special social environments known as anthropology faculties.

Keywords: refunctioned ethnography; ethnographers; cultural anthropology; theory; fieldwork; writing

Chapter.  3584 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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