From Science to Romance

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:
From Science to Romance

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This chapter discusses how ethnography for present situations has its own frisson, its own sense of uncovering, and how it seems decidedly more feminine than the classical imagination of ethnography. The navigator must inspire others to act on his or her behalf, and must find liaisons, make connections, and network in order to reach important subjects. He or she must make their project appealing to their subjects, who are frankly considered to be active participants (collaborators or interlocutors) in the enterprise rather than the objects of a young man's analysis, as in the classical imagination. Without the ability to rely on scientific or cultural authority, ethnography for present situations must become attractive, perhaps even seductive. Its erotics are romantic in their insistence on the importance of subjective human connections (and hence the emotional, the irrational, the aesthetic) over against a world that is perceived to be, or be socially discussed as, overly deterministic, rationalistic, and ultimately inhuman.

Keywords: ethnography; ethnographers; present situations; cultural anthropology; romanticism

Chapter.  3733 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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