Field-working anthropologists must navigate the complex relationship between their empirical observations and the representations they create in writing about those observations. In anthropology, the self is an instrument of knowing: incorporating relationships between, for instance, colonised and coloniser can open up valuable comparative questions, but too much emphasis on the researcher’s personal involvement can lead to self-indulgent and superficial writing.
What kind of anthropology do we get when the researcher skips fieldwork altogether, to focus on representations, on texts, asks Gillian Cowlishaw in her review essay of James Clifford’s book Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century. Read Gillian's article (109) in the Australian Review of Public Affairs.
Book title: Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Date Published: 2013
Author: James Clifford
Image: book cover