Therefore, anthropological analysis must incorporate two facts. First that we ourselves are historically situated through the questions we ask, and the manner in which we seek to understand and experience the world, and second, that what we receive from our informants are interpretations, equally mediated by history and culture. ( Rabinow 1977:119)
One of the hallmarks of American anthropology over the past fifty years is the extent to which its own practice has been the subject of assertion, questioning, and criticism by anthropologists themselves. This work has been shaped by this discussion and by two primary anthropological (and Anthropological 1) interests: (1) the mediation of anthropological practice by its own cultural milieu and (2) American culture. 2 Brought together through a focus on a particular form of written Anthropological practice (referred to in the work as "fieldworker ethnographies") and an exploration of the American and Anthropological milieu in which it emerged, this work is simultaneously part of this ongoing self-examination as well as a study of it. 3 Viewed as culturally mediated through temporal context and "typically American constructs," including and especially ideas and assumptions about the individual and equality (see Varenne 1984; Lipset 1996; Kammen 1997), American Anthropological practice is taken as an anthropological subject for study which simultaneously acts as a heuristic device for the investigation of American experience and culture.
In the late 1970s, part of a generation of neophyte anthropologists, struggling to set their professional feet on the ground, wrote accounts which