By James Clifford
The problem of Culture is a severe ethnography of the West in its altering family with different societies. reading cultural practices similar to anthropology, shuttle writing, amassing, and museum screens of tribal artwork, Clifford exhibits authoritative debts of different methods of lifestyles to be contingent fictions, now actively contested in postcolonial contexts. His critique increases questions of worldwide value: Who has the authority to talk for any group's identification and authenticity? What are the fundamental parts and bounds of a tradition? How do self and "the different" conflict within the encounters of ethnography, shuttle, and glossy interethnic kinfolk? In discussions of ethnography, surrealism, museums, and emergent tribal arts, Clifford probes the late-twentieth century difficulty of residing concurrently inside of, among, and after tradition.
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Extra info for The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art
The actua l i ty of d i sc u rsive events and that i nd iv i d u a l i nterl ocutors i s fi l tered out. B u t i nformants-along with box notes-are cruc i a l i n termed i a ries, typ ica l l y exc l uded from authoritative ethnogra phies. The d i a logica l , situational as pects of ethnograph ic i nterpretation are typically ban i shed from the ultimate representati ve textual content. no longer enti re l y ban i shed , of cou rse; there ex i st authorized topoi for the portraya l of the re sea rc h technique . We a re i ncreas i ng l y fa m i l i a r with the sepa price fie ldwork account (a su bgen re that sti l l has a tendency to be c l assi fied as subjective, "soft," or u nscien tific), yet in spite of i n c l assic ethnograph ies, more-or-less stereotypic "fables of ra pport" narrate the atta i n ment of fu l l partic i pant-observer sta tu s . those fa bles can be to ld intricate ly or in cross i ng, naive l y or i ron i ca l l y. They norma l l y painting the ethnographer's early i gnorance, m i s u ndersta nd i ng, loss of contact-freq uent l y a kind of ch i ld l i ke prestige with i n the c u lture . within the Bildungsgesch ichte of the eth nogra phy those states of i n nocence o r confusion are rep l aced by way of advert u l t, convinced, d i s abu sed wisdom. We may possibly cite aga i n Geertz's cockfight, the place an early a l ienation from the B a l i nese, a harassed "nonperson" prestige, i s tra ns shaped by means of the appea l i n g delusion of the po l i ce ra identity w ith its convey of com p l i urban ( 1 973 : four 1 2-4 1 7). The anecdote establ i shes a pres u m ption of con nected ness, which perm its the author to fu ncti on in h i s su bseq uent analyses as an o m n i current, knowl edgeab l e exegete and spokesma n . Th i s i nterpreter si tuates the ritual activity as a textual content i n a contextu a l international and bri l l iantly " learn s" its cu ltura l mea n i ngs. Geertz's abru pt d i sappearance ON E T H N O G R A PH I C AUTH O R I T Y forty-one i n to h i s rapport-the quasi-i nvisi b i l ity of partic i pant observation-is pa r advert i gmatic. right here he uses an establ ished conference for staging the atta i n ment of ethnogra p h i c authority. As a res u lt, we a re seldom made awa re of the truth that an essenti a l a part of the cockfi ght's construc tion as a textual content is d i a logica l -the a uthor's ta l okay i ng head to head with partic ular B a l i nese instead of learn i n g cu l t u re "over the [ i r] shou lders" ( 1 nine 7 three :45 2 ) . I nterpreti ve anthropology, b y view i n g c u l t u res a s assembl a while of texts, loosely and someti mes contrad ictora l l y u n ited , and by means of h i gh l ight i n g the i nventive poes i s at paintings in a l l co l lective representations, has contri buted signal ificantly to the defa m i l i a rization of eth nogra p h i c authority. I n i ts m a i n flow rea l i st strands, even though, it doesn't get away the overall stric tu res of these critics of "colon i a l " rep resentation who, s i nce 1 950, have rejected d i sco u rses that painting the c u l tu ra l rea l ities of different peo p l es with out p l a c i n g the i r personal rea l i ty i n jeopardy.