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Marcus and Fischer Anthropology as a Cultural Critique Notes

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Ethnography – concern with descriptions
Experimental moment – eccectical, free of authoritarian paradigm, interpretive, anti-establishment; Positivism vs. interpretive

SELF-CRITIQUE – discrupts common sens, remise en question of assumptions 1. First predicament : sensitivity to cultural difference
2. Second predicament : status of anthropology as a cultural critique (reflection of self through studying alien culture).

DUALITY-Palestinian and American, Said
50s linguistics, 70-80s literature and interpretation

‘New criticism’ – internal criticism of texts
Lyotard-crisis of metanarratives
White, Metahistory 1973 : emplotment, argument, ideal; translates problem of historical explanation into problem of representation. -traces romance-tragedy-comedy- IRONY
-search for multiple, openenended alternatives—that is a sophisticated EPISTEMOLOGY -focus not to study change in framework, but focus to study change itself

Definition : doing and writing ethnography
Anthropology contribution : 1. Capturing cultural diversity 2. cultural critique of ourselves, ethnography as a written product of fieldwork
-insist on self-consciousness, no fixed meanings
-metaphor of cultures as texts Geertz (how interpretation works)
3. holism-full picture, context vs.encylopedia

Parsons-Levi-Strauss-Shifted meaning to MENTAL and CULTURAL phenomena

1. shift to symbols, msgs, mentality
2. fieldwork
3. attempt at ahistorical and apolitical nature of ethnographic writing, ie : counter colonialist.

Legitimating an experiment by recovering the forgotten possibility (40)- what forgotten possibility?.

Reorientation, sharp break, periods of risk-taking and « innovation »-distinctive-self-styled-how difference represented-subjectivity.


Personhood-essential for how cultures differ from each other Agency vs collective mentalities – racist or romantic

Here you have a typology, which is based on context of all the workers. Can you play with this typology? Can you re-arrange the typology in a different pattern? If you did rearrange the typology in a different pattern, then you would provide a relativist explanation of culture, which would be an alternate perspective. But you have to start with this typology. This is good. This is challenging. You don’t learn if this is not challenging for you. The problem with this typology is that it is quite vast. This would be the philosophical fieldwork for this chapter and this could make your thesis even more relevant, because underscoring this analysis is a bibliographic reference to 10 books that you should probably know. This is a mental map for you.

PSYCHODYNAMIC (variable experiences of realities)
-Geertz Bali-cultural practices not psychology
-Schneider-epistemology, rhetoric, aesthetic content and sensibilities -Levy-Tahitans-1973
-Kracke, Wood-Force and persuasion, Amazonia 1978
-Obeysekere-Medusas’s hair-private maps vs. public symbols 1981

Self-reflections : dreams, associations, metaphors, distortions

Common sense, distance, structural analysis
Malinowski, Brown, Pritchard, functionalist, Manchester school, self-conscious 5 devices : life history, life cycle, ritual, aesthetic and dramatic incident and conflict .

Reciprocity , cultural codes and meanings, immediacy of discourse Tyler : dialogue mode vs. textuality postmodernism, literry poetic turn in anthropology various positions (see articles).

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