When They Read What We Write: The Politics of Ethnography


Stimulated by discussions of ethics and responsibility in anthropological fieldwork, this collection of essays explores what happens when people who are the subjects of the research read or hear about what has been written on them. The most acute problems arise from biased media reports in newspapers and on television that misconstrue the findings of the anthropological study. This work shows how long-term relationships of trust and cooperation between subject and researcher can be irrevocably damaged by misinformation, rumor, or lack of forethought. The ten seasoned ethnographers writing with considerable hindsight warn of the dangers of ignoring the native readership and suggest strategies that will avoid misunderstanding and misrepresentations in the future.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Stephen D. Glazier
  • Alexandra Jaffe
  • Elizabeth A. Sheehan
  • Caroline B. Brettell
  • Ofra Greenberg
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1993