Tedlock, B. 2000. “Ethnography and Ethnographic Representation.”

Tedlock, Barbara. 2000. “Ethnography and Ethnographic Representation.” In Handbook of Qualitative Research, 2nd edition, ed. N.K. Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ethnography as a means to translate specific events, interactions, and understandings into more meaningful context, results as “historically, politically, and personally situated accounts, descriptions, interpretations, and representations of human lives” (455). Located between personal experience and cultural analysis, exists as a process and a product. Researchers as “cross-dressers” – wearing others’ clothes, to learn behavior and language to accompany them. Direct participation with persons studied as integral to ethnography only realized in late 19th century – participant oberservation. Debate on whether or not to adopt “native” view, “marginal native” or “professional stranger” – as a means to obtaining “authentic” knowledge. Condemnation of friendship, sympathy, identification, beliefs as “going native” – moral degeneration; but here, field work not just a rite of passage, but as a constitution of personal identity. Cast in multiple forms – biography, autobiography, novel, memoir,
The chronicle as “the true story of a man’s experiences… the result is not just a portrait of the people he is studying, but a portrait of himself.” (Auster 1998, trans Clastres). Combination of “internal textual accuracy with external cultural accuracy” (468).

From participant observation to observation of participation – prior implies detachment, objectivity; the latter, a reflexivity and interpretation of one’s participation and co-existence in same frame as observed.
Success of ethnography not simply dependent on individual competency, but as an effort made within the local, national, international relationships. Gender hierarchies, professional masculinization (honorary membership within masculinized spheres by process of female ethnographers’ professional roles), divisions of labor, feminist impact and disclosure of intent, emotion.

“The human being, the object and subject of their inquiry, exists in multiple strata of reality, which are organized in different ways. The realm of meaning is emergent from the material and organic strata rather than a product of them” (471).

Auster, P. 1998. “Translator’s Note.” In Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians, P. Clastres. Pp. 7-13. New York: Zone.


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