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On ethnographic nostalgia: exoticising and de-exoticising Emberá culture, for example

Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios (2016) On ethnographic nostalgia: exoticising and de-exoticising Emberá culture, for example. In: Against Exoticism: Toward the Transcendence of Relativism and Universalism in Anthropology. Berghahn Books, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 24-43. ISBN 978-1-78533-370-5. E-ISBN 978-1-78533-371-2. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:52386)

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Abstract

In this article I introduce the concept of ethnographic nostalgia as an analytical tool that may contribute to the de-exoticisation of the ethnographic object. I argue that scholarly engagement with a previous ethnographic record, and the art of writing ethnography, generate a particular type of nostalgia that emerges from the comparison of an already described, polished and well-articulated past with a more imperfect and unpredictable present. Ethnographic nostalgia may distort and exoticise our description of social reality by superimposing an interpretation of underlying cultural patterns over the spontaneous or unpredictable intentions of purposeful action. But ethnographic nostalgia may also lead, through systematic deconstruction, to the discovery of new layers of social complexity, thus de-exoticising academic interpretation. To offer examples of these two possibilities provided by ethnographic nostalgia I look at a series of challenges that I encountered during my fieldwork with the Emberá.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Ethnographic nostalgia; exoticisation; indigenous representation; the Emberá
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Dimitrios Theodossopoulos
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2015 17:52 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:30 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52386 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Theodossopoulos, Dimitrios: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8453-3450
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