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Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography

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Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Anthropology has long had a vexed relationship with literature, and nowhere has this been more acutely felt than in France, where most ethnographers, upon returning from the field, write not one book, but two: a scientific monograph and a literary account. In Far Afield—brought to English-language readers here for the first time—Vincent Debaene puzzles out this phenomenon, tracing the contours of anthropology and literatures mutual fascination and the ground upon which they meet in the works of thinkers from Marcel Mauss and Georges Bataille to Claude Lévi-Strauss and Roland Barthes.

           

The relationship between anthropology and literature in France is one of careful curiosity. Literary writers are wary about anthropologists scientific austerity but intrigued by the objects they collect and the issues they raise, while anthropologists claim to be scientists but at the same time are deeply concerned with writing and representational practices. Debaene elucidates the richness that this curiosity fosters and the diverse range of writings it has produced, from Proustian memoirs to proto-surrealist diaries. In the end he offers a fascinating intellectual history, one that is itself located precisely where science and literature meet.

Synopsis:

“Humanists and social scientists alike will profit from reflection on the efforts of the contributors to reimagine anthropology in terms, not only of methodology, but also of politics, ethics, and historical relevance. Every discipline in the human and social sciences could use such a book.”—Hayden White, author of Metahistory

Synopsis:

This seminal collection of essays critiquing ethnography as literature is augmented with a new foreword by Kim Fortun, exploring the ways in which Writing Culture has changed the face of ethnography over the last 25 years.

About the Author

James Clifford is Professor, History of Consciousness Department, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. George E. Marcus is Chancellor's Professor, Department of Anthropology, at the University of California, Irvine.

Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition

Introduction

The Ethnographers Two Books

Science and Literature: A Genealogy

I Ethnography in the Eyes of Literature

1 The Birth of a Discipline

Breaks and Discontinuities

Fieldwork

Ethnographys Prestige

2 The French Exception

The Speculative Origins of French Ethnography

“Everything involving the exercise of the mind”

Malinowski: A Counterexample

3 Rhetoric, the Document, and Atmosphere

From the Science of Customs to Total Social Facts

Evocative Documents

The Supplement to the Ethnographers Expedition

The Impossible Return to Belles Lettres

The Human Document and the Living Museum

4 “A literature that is not meaningless like our own”

“Some of the innocent flavor of the original text”

LÎle de Pâques: 1941, 1951

Mauss, Fieldwork, and Ethnographic Documents

5 The Lost Unity of Heart and Mind

The Philosophical Voyage as Paradise Lost

From the Enlightenment to the Renaissance

A “New Humanism"

II Ladieu au Voyage

6 “Ceci nest pas un voyage”

Travel: Polemics, Prestige, and Legitimacy

The Ethnographer, the Adventurer, and the Tourist

Spatializing Cultural Difference

LAfrique fantôme and Tristes Tropiques: Impossible Intimacy

“This is not travel writing”

7 Les Flambeurs dhommes:

The Ethiopian Chronicles of Marcel Griaule

The Ethnographer and the Littérateur

The Inadequacies of the Ethnographic Document

The Impossible Evocative Document

Excursus: Sociology and Cruelty

Ethnography and Cultural Knowledge

8 LAfrique fantôme: Leiris and the “Living Document”

The Impossible Foreword

Reading LAfrique fantôme

From Communion to Representation

Theatricality and the Family

Living Document, “Phantom” Africa

9 Tristes Tropiques:

The Search for Correspondence and the Logic of the Sensible

“The boat entered the harbor at 5:30 in the morning”

From Conrad to Proust

From the Deserts of Memory to the Science of the Concrete

History, Entropy, “Entropology”

“Doorways that reveal other worlds and other times”

III Literature in the Eyes of Ethnography

10 Literature, Letters, and the Social Sciences

Lanson, 1895: The Dispossession of the Artist by the Scientist

The Man of Letters and the Social Division of Labor

Humanities, Sciences, and Counterrevolutionary Thought

Lanson, 1904: From Literature to Science

11 Disputes over Territory

Ramon Fernandez, 1935: A Conversation between

the Scientist and the Essayist

Breton, 1948–1966: “You will never really know the Mayas”

Bataille, Barthes, Blanchot, 1956: The Reception of Tristes Tropiques

12 1955–1970: A New Deal

The End of the Documentary Paradigm

Ethnography and Literature in the “Real World”

(Post)colonial Literature and the Ethnographic

The “Terre humaine” Series: Literature from Within and Without

Barthes and “Structures”

Barthes, 1967: From Science to Literature

Conclusion

Literature

Ethnography

Acknowledgments

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520266025
Subtitle:
French Anthropology between Science and Literature
Author:
Clifford, James
Foreword by:
Fortun, Mike
Foreword:
Fortun, Mike
Editor:
Marcus, George E.
Author:
Fortun, Kim
Author:
Fortun, Mike
Author:
Fortun, Michael A.
Author:
Debaene, Vincent
Author:
Izzo, Justin
Author:
Marcus, George E.
Publisher:
University Of Chicago Press
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Methodology
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20140404
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 b/w photograph
Pages:
424
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

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Related Subjects

» History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
» History and Social Science » Politics » General
» History and Social Science » Sociology » Reference and Methodology

Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$40.95 In Stock
Product details 424 pages University of California Press - English 9780520266025 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
“Humanists and social scientists alike will profit from reflection on the efforts of the contributors to reimagine anthropology in terms, not only of methodology, but also of politics, ethics, and historical relevance. Every discipline in the human and social sciences could use such a book.”—Hayden White, author of Metahistory
"Synopsis" by ,
This seminal collection of essays critiquing ethnography as literature is augmented with a new foreword by Kim Fortun, exploring the ways in which Writing Culture has changed the face of ethnography over the last 25 years.
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