Synopses & Reviews
In this landmark study, now celebrating thirty years in print, Paul Rabinow takes as his focus the fieldwork that anthropologists do. How valid is the process? To what extent do the cultural data become artifacts of the interaction between anthropologist and informants? Having first published a more standard ethnographic study about Morocco, Rabinow here describes a series of encounters with his informants in that study, from a French innkeeper clinging to the vestiges of a colonial past, to the rural descendants of a seventeenth-century saint. In a new preface Rabinow considers the thirty-year life of this remarkable book and his own distinguished career.
Rarely have anthropologists regarded fieldwork as a serious object of study, although it is tacitly accepted as their major activity. How valid is the process? To what extent are the cultural data an artifact of the interaction between anthropologist and informants? Rabinow takes the view that fieldwork is an independent cultural activity, valuable in its own right and worthy of narrative report.
About the Author
Paul Rabinow is a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley.