How Do We Know? Evidence, Ethnography and the Making of Anthropological Knowledge

Liana Chua, Casey High, Timm Lau

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Since its inception, modern anthropology has stood at the confluence of two mutually constitutive modes of knowledge production: participant-observation and theoretical analysis. This unique combination of practice and theory has been the subject of recurrent intellectual and methodological debate, raising questions that strike at the very heart of the discipline. How Do We Know? is a timely contribution to emerging debates that seek to understand this relationship through the theme of evidence. Incorporating a diverse selection of case studies ranging from the Tibetan emotion of shame to films of Caribbean musicians, it critically addresses such questions as: What constitutes viable anthropological evidence? How does evidence generated through small-scale, intensive periods of participant-observation challenge or engender abstract theoretical models? Are certain types of evidence inherently better than others? How have recent interdisciplinary collaborations and technological innovations altered the shape of anthropological evidence? Extending a long-standing tradition of reflexivity within the discipline, the contributions to this volume are ethnographically-grounded and analytically ambitious meditations on the theme of evidence. Cumulatively, they challenge the boundaries of what anthropologists recognise and construct as evidence, while pointing to its thematic and conceptual potential in future anthropologies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge, MA: MIT Press
Number of pages232
ISBN (Print)978-1847185815, 1847185819
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008

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