Politics of Ethnography: Feminism and Anthropology
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Presentation on theme: "Politics of Ethnography: Feminism and Anthropology"— Presentation transcript:
1 Politics of Ethnography: Feminism and Anthropology The Gendered nature of our fields has been left to women anthropologists to ponder and feminist scholars to critique, and even then their work has been largely ignored. Neither the burgeoning body of ethnographic literature by women writers nor feminist theorising about the difference gender makes have set the discipline agenda (Bell 1993: 1).
2 What is the relationship between feminism and anthropology? Ignorance of contribution of women in the disciplineAnthropological genealogies(male oriented))Their contribution to reflexivity (ignored or appropriated)
3 Women and reflexivity Powdermaker (1966) Mead (1977) Personal experience (autobiography)
4 The Challenges from without MinoritiesWomenDecentred authorityForced to become reflexive
5 The reflexive turn Crack in the Mirror by Myerhoff and Ruby 1982) to examine a field problemto examine anthropology itselfto look at anthropology as a tool for gathering datato publicly examine the anthropologist's response to the field situation
6 On Australian Aboriginal Women Male ethnographer…ProfaneEconomically unimportantExcludedMarginalFemale ethnography…Central roleImportant in ritualRespectedNon-marginal
7 Three layers Bias imported by the male ethnographer The bias inherent in the society studiedThe bias inherent in Western culture
8 Deconstruction of gender symbolism and sexual stereotypes Men associated with culture and women with nature; physiologyWomen social roles; domestic domainsConcept of pollution
9 Deconstructing the structure of male bias by Focusing on womenBuilding data: about women by womenReworking and redefining anthropological theory
10 Ardener (1975) and the theory of “Muted Groups” control over modes of expressionMale dominated structures--ways of communicating (linguistic concepts)--ways of writing (mankind for humankind)--dominant ideology--different world views
11 Problems with the assumption of a privileged status (women studying women) Ghettoization of feminist anthropology--too specialized --image problemThe assumption of a universal category of “women”--not the same in all culturesPerception of ethnocentrism--a bias in favor of one culture ( that of the woman anthrop)
12 Discussion QuestionWhat are the advantages and disadvantages of a feminist anthropology in ethnographic knowledge?