Experience over Observation
I think the moment was right epistemically for this kind of thing to emerge. I think Geertz and Levi-Strauss got up to the edge of it and the next step was there. And someone like Clifford has shown, I think convincingly, that the genre constraints that were in place since the "twenties" were coming to an end and off we went. ( Rabinow 1989)
The epistemological shift from science to interpretation created the space and the underpinning for theoretical and methodological changes argued for and claimed in fieldworker ethnographies.
Part of the effect of the rejection of science as the epistemological underpinning for method and analysis in fieldworker ethnographies was the collapsing of all science into scientism (referred to here as Science). 1 Specifically targeted was objective observation as the cornerstone of such practice. In fieldworker ethnographies, scientific objectivity was not only assumed as implausible, and asserted as impossible, it was argued as undesirable. Objective observation was replaced by subjective experience as the salient aspect of fieldwork and as the basis for ethnography. Thus, a break between epistemological paradigms was manifest in the written account.
In science, objectivity can be taken for granted in part because of the implicit and explicit differences between the phenomena under study. For