Mirrored Images: American Anthropology and American Culture, 1960-1980

By Susan R. Trencher | Go to book overview

Appendix

The following synopses are not intended as formal summaries, but as an indication of the variations between and among these works. They are presented in order of year of publication.


REFLECTIONS ON FIELDWORK IN MOROCCO

Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco ( 1977) is a reconstruction of Rabinow's fieldwork experience in Morocco ( 1968-1969), and is intended as an essay about anthropology itself ( Rabinow 1977:4). ( Rabinow had already produced what he described as a "complementary" and "traditional" ethnography based on his fieldwork in Morocco, Symbolic Domination [ 1975]). Drawing primarily on Geertz ( 1973), Ricoeur ( 1969), and sources in phenomenology ( Schutz 1971; Berger and Luckmann 1967), Rabinow argued that the strategy of the anthropologist in conventional Anthropological writing represented a positivist view of the Anthropological project on the part of its practitioners. Arguing that theory and practice should be a continuous integrated enterprise, Rabinow found it anomalous that the process of participant observation in Anthropological fieldwork was separate from the mainstream of theory in Anthropology, that "the enterprise for enquiring is essentially discontinuous from its results" ( 1977:5). Rabinow sought to dissolve this separation by offering a nonpositivistic account of his fieldwork experience, one informed by an interpretive epistemology. In particular, Rabinow drew on hermeneutics as articulated by French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, who had defined hermeneutics as "the comprehension of the self by the detour of the other" (ibid.). Further, Rabinow argued that Anthropological analysis must incorporate two facts: (1) anthropologists themselves

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