Magazine article New Internationalist

Against a Peacock Sky // Review

Magazine article New Internationalist

Against a Peacock Sky // Review

Article excerpt

The familiar problems of anthropology. People swallowed by tape recorders emerging as paragraphs of text. Cultures pinned like exotic butterflies. The imperialism of explanation. And the financially secure anthropologist's place in frugal societies. What kind of justification can the knowledge so gleaned claim?

Monica Connell's awareness of these problems reduces many of them and though her account of her stay in a village in the remote Jumla district of Nepal is finely observed there is nothing in it that is voyeuristic. Her position is always clear - the people she stays with become her friends and involve her in their rituals and their routines of rice planting and gathering pine needles. Yet she retains her composed outsider's eye, often being 'humbled and then resocialized'. …

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