By Kirsten Hastrup, Peter Hervik
Tracing the method from the fieldwork to the research of effects, this booklet demonstrates how the ethnographer arrives at an realizing not just of `culture' and `society', but additionally of the ways that cultures and societies evolve.
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Additional info for Social Experience and Anthropological Knowledge
The fact that she had lived in Montmartre, a renowned landmark, encouraged Social experience and anthropological knowledge 38 questions from the locals about prostitutes. The place was also familiar to the anthropologist, so some knowledge, however different, could be used. In another case, the residents drew on regional stereotypes rather than shared concrete knowledge to recreate the woman’s past. A Breton woman found herself the victim of ridicule similar to New York Polack jokes. Here her identity was fixed by visual details of demeanour.
Noor finds the pattern of village cooperation ‘businesslike’, and wants to conduct her own family events in a more private manner; she wants to erect a barrier between friendship and ‘business’. 2 Limah’s organization of time and space The way in which I see her dream about the future as a metonym of Malay family traditions is similar to the way in which she describes features of traditional ceremonial cooperation in a ‘business’ metaphor and sees it as metonymic of a whole way of ordering community relationships that no longer suits her.
This approach to symbols often finds its themes in the body practices and representations of other cultures, and under this perspective the distinction between the symbolic and the practical melts down. This is not an unfamiliar thought in anthropology, although its full implications are only barely beginning to be spelled out. It is a leading theme in Marilyn Strathern’s book The Gender of the Gift, and summed up in the remark: ‘From our point of view, [these] are symbolic constructs; from the Melanesian point of view they are recipes for social action’ (Strathern 1988:271).