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ERIC Number: ED408618
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Clifford Geertz and Beyond: The Interpretive Interview/Essay and Reflexive Ethnography.
Page, Miriam Dempsey
In "The Uses of Diversity," the interpretive anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, says that it is impossible to completely get inside the point of view of another culture. Geertz contends, however, that despite multiple voices in the growing body of reflexive ethnographies there is still an author composing the work. Besides Geertz, reflexive ethnographies have been elaborated by Paul Rabinow, Marjorie Shostak, Kirin Narayan, and others. In another from of reflexive ethnography, the interpretive interview/essay, the culture is learned about through stories, autobiographies, and personal narratives--the author visibly interacts with the "storyteller." The interview can lean toward the formal or be conversational; it can be a dialogue between two people or among a network of people, but the author/interviewer is still the initiator and still has the last word. The interpretive interview/essays that students at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez write are similar to reflexive autobiographies, but with some differences: the subject or subjects being interviewed can be alive or dead, literal or fictional. Students are not given topics, only rhetorical stimulus, so they may be creative with the concept and the interaction within the form. What has happened as reflexive ethnography has become a respected body of anthropological literature is a change in what constitutes valid science. The interpretive interview/essay is an attempt by reflexive ethnographers and others to invite through form and language better understanding of what it means to be human. (Contains 12 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A