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Politics of Ethnography: Translated Woman Part Two What is particularly important in the discussion that hovers around the self-consciously experimental texts is not experimentation for its own sake, but the theoretical insight that the play with writing technique brings to consciousness, and the sense that continued innovation in the nature of ethnography can be a tool in the development of theory (Marcus and Fischer 1896: 41-42). Two theoretical and methodological currents • Advocacy in feminist literature (including anthropology) • Importance of anthropological confessions as a methodological shift in ethnography Testimonial as a type of advocacy • Literary narrative , Docummentary, (Roots in Latin American historical fiction) • Opens channels of communication • Preserve women’s history • Accessible (appeals to mass audiences) • Demystify common assumptions • Takes a position • Parallels with ethno-autobiographies (anthropology) Methodological influences from anthropology • Early critique of fieldwork in the 1960’s: not very critical, celebratory of the anthropologists as hero • In the 1970’s: Anthropological confessions: necessity to show oneself as ethnographer, A move away from ethnographic realism (Rabinow 1977 and Dumont 1978) • Malinowski’s diaries: ethnographer not a detached recorder of culture Van Maanan (1988) Characteristics: • • • • Highly personalized styles Stories of fieldwork rapport Active construction of the ethnography A world presented in which the ethnographer plays a part Not knowing that my conversations with Esperanza will continue in later years, I feel compelled to create a sense of closure, no matter how artificial, and I find myself that night asking some rather crude questions (156) Remain realist • Done to convince the audience of authenticity • Mentions personal biases, character flows, etc • Shows him/herself struggling to piece together the story Clifford (1983) Two rhetorical strategies of confessions • One: to cast oneself as student as an apprentice of culture; comes to learn a culture like a child learns a culture • Two: to cast oneself as a translator or interpreter of indigenous texts available to the ethnographer only in the field Advantages of confessionals • Stories are more direct immediate and accessible • Acknowledgement of subjectivity, politics, structures of power, authorship, representation, self-representation A growing discomfort about close links between the fieldworker and the inquisitor a extractors of confessions...This discomfort was highlighted for me in Mexico by the intense awareness of race and class differences in the countryside and by the way people tended to position mw in the role of a rich gringa from the United states (3) What are the stories told in the ethnography about? How is the form of the ethnography shaped by such relationship? Discussion Questions • Why does Behar think Esperanza needs the anthropologist to mediate her story? • Whose stories are they? • Can testimonial an ethnic autobiographies refashion our practice of ethnography as a mode of cultural critique?