Two or three things I love about ethnography

Signe Howell


I argue that anthropology and ethnography are two sides of the same coin. Anthropology is nothing without ethnography and ethnography is just an empty practice without a concern for the disciplinary debates in anthropology departments. A number of other disciplines have taken to use “ethnographic” or “ethnographic fieldwork” as their method. Most social anthropologists would be very skeptical to the kind of methodology that is proposed under that rubric. This challenges anthropologists to make clear what we mean by fieldwork and why. We will not survive as an academic discipline unless we continue to undertake long-term fieldwork in faraway places, go out to confront the radically unknown and render it understandable, indeed probable. When all is said and done, cultural relativism is our trade mark.


armchair anthropologists, comparison, cultural relativism, ethnography in other disciplines, human incommensurably, human potentiality, radical alterity, serendipity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau7.1.004