The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art

By James Clifford

The trouble of Culture is a serious ethnography of the West in its altering relatives with different societies. examining cultural practices equivalent to anthropology, go back and forth writing, accumulating, and museum screens of tribal paintings, Clifford exhibits authoritative debts of alternative methods of existence to be contingent fictions, now actively contested in postcolonial contexts. His critique increases questions of worldwide importance: Who has the authority to talk for any group's identification and authenticity? What are the basic components and bounds of a tradition? How do self and "the different" conflict within the encounters of ethnography, commute, and smooth interethnic relatives? In discussions of ethnography, surrealism, museums, and emergent tribal arts, Clifford probes the late-twentieth century quandary of residing concurrently inside, among, and after tradition.

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MAX E R NST, "WHAT IS THE MECHANISM OF C O LLAGE? " four. On Ethnographic Surrealism A N D R � B R E T O N frequently i n s i sted that su rrea l i sm was once no longer a physique of document­ tri nes or a defi nable inspiration yet a n job. T h i s bankruptcy is an exploration of ethnograph i c task set, because it m ust continuously be, i n s pec ific c u ltura l and h i storical c i rc u m stances. I wi l l be focusing on ethnography and s u r­ rea l i sm i n F rance among the 2 international wars . To d i sc u ss those actions together-at ti mes, i ndeed, to perm i t them to merge-is to question a n u m be r of universal d i sti nctions and u n ities.

I n deed all through his paintings he i s preoccu p i ed with l ies-al­ even though n ot as basic u ntruths . each one i nformant, even the main s i ncere, reviews a n " i n st i nctive have to d i ss i m u l ate half i c u l arly del icate poi nts . He w i l l g l advert l y ta ke good thing about the s l i ghtest cha nce to flee the s u bject a n d dwe l l on a nother" ( 1 ninety five 7 : five eight) . local co l l aborators " l ie" in j est o r t h tough ven a l ity, the des i re to pl ease, or the terror of neighbo rs and the god s ( p .

I t i s transparent that Ogote m me l i 's i n tervention used to be a cruc i a l tu rn i n the examine p rocess. I t published the level of Dagon contro l over the okay i nd of i nformation entry i b l e to the eth nographers. It annou nced a brand new styl e of study i n w h ich the authority of i n formants w a s extra expl icitly rec­ ogn i zed . N o l o n ger u ntrustworthy witnesses s u bjected to cross-exam i n a­ tion, the Dogan "doctors ," Ogotemmel i and h i s successors, have been now lea rned i n terlocutors .

They now gestu re towards the complex different nar­ rator at the deck of the Nellie as they are saying, with Marlow : "Of cou rse i n th i s you fel l ows see greater than I d i d the n . you spot me, whom you recognize. " 1 1 . G ee rtz's lectures ( 1 983), "Works and Lives: The Anth ropologist as Au­ thor," weren't but publ i shed as of this writing. I n the component to the oral presen ­ tation I a m d i scussing he refers pri mari l y to Rabinow 1 nine 7 7 ; Crapanzano 1 980 ; and Dwyer 1 ninety eight 2 . 1 2 . T h e d iscu rsive fie l d can't, o f cou rse, b e l i m ited t o t h e d isci p l i ne of anthropology or its frontiers; neither is i t adeq u ate l y captu crimson in phrases l i ke reflexi\·e or dialogica l.

The Russian critic u rges a reth i n ok i n g of l a nguage i n phrases of s pec ific d i sc u rsive occasions : "There 42 D I S C O UR S E S are," he writes, "no ' neutra l ' phrases and forms-words and types which could belong to 'no one' ; l anguage has been whole l y taken over, shot via with i ntentions and accents . " The phrases of ethnographic writing, then, can't be construed as monologica l , because the authoritative assertion approximately, or i nterpretation of, a n abstracted , textua l i zed rea l ity.

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