Collaborative Ethnography: Luke Eric Lassiter Receives Margaret Mead Anthropology Award
Anthropology professor Luke Eric Lassiter has received the 2005 Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology. The Margaret Mead Award celebrates the tradition of bringing anthropology to bear on wider social and cultural issues. Lassiter received the award in part for his book, The Other Side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie’s African American Community as well as for his explorations of race relations and collaborative, community-based research and writing, according to Huntington News.
On his website, Lassiter explains the concept of Collaborative Ethnography. In his opinion, Collaboratice Ethnography is "among the most powerful ways to advance a more relevant and public scholarship". Collaborative Ethnography, he explains,
(...) seeks to make collaboration an explicit and deliberate part of not only fieldwork but also part of the writing process itself. Community collaborators thus become a central part of the construction of ethnographic texts -- which shifts their role from "informants" (who merely inform the knowledge on which ethnographies are based) to "consultants" (who co-interpret culture and its representation along with the ethnographer).
Such an approach also shifts the role of ethnographers: they are no longer the sole authorities on culture, but facilitators who use their skills to address community-centered questions and issues.
Lessiter has published extensively on this subject. Five articles on collaborative ethnography and public anthropology are available as pdf-documents on his website.