Experience and representation in anthropologic knowledge-production
What kind of narrative entity is an ethnographic report? What are its linguistic and epistemological characteristics? What kind of knowledge does it impart? An ethnographer's work, according to its canonical conception, is structured in three phases: field data collection, data analysis and interpretation, report writing. Critical concerns surrounding the ethnographical practice have often excluded the writing aspect due to its supposed neutrality in relation to its object. Writing, however, is not an unbiased tool: it is impregnated with ideological, political and cultural meanings. Posing that individual worldviews and understandings of knowledge underpin each ethnographer's writing, this book explores the connections between cognitive structuring (knowledge production), linguistic formulation (text production) and external reality (the empirical context of the ethnographical practice).
Vincenzo Matera is associate professor in anthropology at the Department of Sociology of the UniversitÓ di Milano Bicocca. His research interests focus on the anthropology of communication, cultural processes, identity and imagination. Matera is the author of numerous scientific papers and he recently completed a project on immigrant artists working in Milan (www.etnografiadellaperformance.it).