Friday, March 26, 2010

Wisdom sits in places

Like the words of Tim Ingold, in his 2007 Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology. Titled "Anthropology Is Not Ethnography," it was published in the Proceedings of the British Academy 2008:

"As educators based in university departments, most anthropologists devote much of their lives to working with students. They probably spend considerably more time in the classroom than anywhere they might call the field. Some enjoy this more than others, but they do not, by and large, regard time in the classroom as an integral part of their anthropological practice. Students are told that anthropology is what we do with our colleagues, and with other people in other places, but not with them. Locked out of the power-house of anthropological knowledge construction, all they can do is peer through the windows that our texts and teachings offer them. It took the best part of a century, of course, for the people once known as 'natives', and latterly as 'informants', to be admitted to the big anthropology house as master-collaborators, that is as people we work with. It is now usual for their contributions to any anthropological study to be fulsomely acknowledged. Yet students remain excluded, and the inspiration and ideas that flow from our dialogue with them unrecognized. I believe this is a scandal, one of the malign consequences of the institutionalized division between research and teaching that has so blighted the practice of scholarship. For indeed, the epistemology that constructs the student as the mere recipient of anthropological knowledge produced elsewhere - rather than as a participant in its ongoing creative crafting - is the very same as that which constructs the native as an informant. And it is no more defensible."

No comments:

Post a Comment