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Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography
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Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  525 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In these new essays, a group of experienced ethnographers, a literary critic, and a historian of anthropology, all known for advanced analytic work on ethnographic writing, place ethnography at the center of a new intersection of social history, interpretive anthropology, travel writing, discourse theory, and textual criticism.
The authors analyze classic examples of cultur
Paperback, 345 pages
Published April 11th 1986 by University of California Press (first published April 1986)
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Apr 18, 2011 Brenda rated it liked it
Shelves: academic
Clifford, James & George E. Marcus, editors. WRITING CULTURE: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

Between the introduction by James Clifford and the afterword piece by George E. Marcus, Writing Culture is an impressive undertaking by seven authorities in various fields of academic endeavor. The essays produced were a result of intensive discussions held at the School of American Research in Sante Fe, New Mexico in 1984. The essays are revis
Aug 20, 2007 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
As much as I loved this book and have relied on it during my schooling, I think I can now say I am done with the intellectual hand wringing done within the discipline of Anthropology. Ethnography is a tough undertaking, we will necessarily do a violence to our subjects, but we aren't on the veranda anymore. If we engage our subjects as equals, if we don't writed in that staid, tired way then the discourse in our field grows and moves us forward - to learning a bit more about those we study with ...more
Chris Peterson
Feb 02, 2013 Chris Peterson rated it did not like it
Easily the worst book I have ever had to suffer through. Half-baked, pretentious nonsense. My copy is full of penciled in anger in the margins.
Shane Wallis
I find myself with mixed feelings at the end of this book. Some of the essays within this book I found to be incredibly entertaining and accesible. Others however were, unfortunately, quite beyond me. This unfortunately dampened my ability to appreciate their work. Of the essays which I was able to follow more easily, I did find they presented interesting perspectives. Especially the links between ethnographic writing and earlier forms of travelogues. The critique of Clifford Geertz's Balinese ...more
Dec 13, 2009 Eldiablodehowies rated it it was ok
Post-mods really do have it out for feminist
Feb 06, 2008 Natalie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Buddhist scholars
Shelves: anthropology
I read this book ten years ago (it was a little old even then), and I'm reading it again now. It is still totally applicable to a variety of disciplines that represent Others--and I'm concerned here specifically with Buddhist studies, which seems to have ignored the political issues of representation. What allegories do we enact, what fears do we project, what nostalgia do we inscribe, as we lay claim to the authoritative version of Buddhist histories? But I blather. This book rocks, and it's ...more
Adam Hoffritz
If you like post-modernism in anthropology this is the book for you. This is in a way what started a revolution in ethnographic writing and there are some very useful comments, ideas and good critique on ethnographic in there. However, there are many gaps in the way authors present their arguments and the authors seem to reject all ideas exept their own and I find it often to arrogant. An ok book I think.
Oct 28, 2011 Risa rated it really liked it
Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (A School of American Research advanced seminar) by James Clifford (1986)
Chris Antonsen
Aug 12, 2013 Chris Antonsen rated it really liked it
Not every essay in this anthology is great, but the work is overall. It should be in every ethnographic fieldworker's personal collection.
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James Clifford is a historian and Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Clifford and Hayden White were among the first faculty directly appointed to the History of Consciousness Ph.D. program in 1978, which was originally the only graduate department at UC-Santa Cruz. The History of Consciousness department continues to be an intellectual ...more
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