Thanks for the review, Lorenz. I am anxious now to take a look at this book and to follow the Savage Minds discussion.
I share the concern for good and accessible writing … and struggle with that in my own work. Could we possibly start/continue a discussion about anthropology writings and texts that do what Eriksen (and you) are calling for? I have, for example, blogged about Julie Cruikshank’s work and would include her writings in accessible, narrative-style anthropology.
One of the best at this is Keith Basso, whose book Wisdom Sits in Places (Apache ethnography from Arizona, USA) is remarkable in its readability and a model for me of writing with concern for the reading audience. Basso’s earlier study of Apache joking, Portraits of the Whiteman, also fits the bill.
Good idea, Tad. One of my favorites in this regards is In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio by Philippe Bourgois. I especially like the numerous dialogues. I’ll add more later.
Comment from: Celia
Lorenz, thanks so much for this review.
I’m a grad student struggling with the pressure to amass data and publish theoretically, when what I came in for was to live with people and tell stories.
I recently read Kristin Ghodsee’s “Red Riviera,” which stood out as an idea-focused book that still had strong elements of clear writing and story. I’d love to hear of more ethnographies like this, and even to develop a community that encourages writing stories for the public.
Comment from: AJ
I really enjoyed reading this post. It hit some chords with me.
I know this is an old post, but it’s a pertinent one to someone who’s just finished a PhD and is deeply disillusioned with ‘academic’ anthropology and its irrelevance.
However, although the bright note about anthropologists using the internet more is a positive note, it’s my experience that sites like Savage Minds are dominated by the same old same old academic, obscurists, obsessed with the endless trope of post-everything, obtuse, unclear writing and writers (i.e. Homi Bhabha).
I would like to see anthropology concerned less with inter-academic argument and working on how to share the real learnings that anthropology and ethnography have with the rest of the world.
And yes, I work in applied anthropology!
Thanks for your comment. It’ easy to get disillusioned! I’m glad I’m not really part of the system! Savage Minds has changed a bit recently and has turned into an internal US-centric anthro forum. But I suppose these discussions might be necessary as well. There are lots of (too many?) other blogs.
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