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The Social Construction and Reconstruction of the Other: Fieldwork in El Barrio
Vol. 71, No. 4 (Oct., 1998), pp. 169-185
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3317440
Page Count: 17
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Anthropology, Barrios, Cultural anthropology, Older adults, Ethnography, Linguistic anthropology, Field research, Hispanics, Housing, Poverty
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Anthropologists speak of ethnography as both product and process of fieldwork, yet have tended to be overly concerned about the product. In this article I argue that by making the process of fieldwork more participatory, we make the product more policy oriented. The case presented here suggests that visual methods can be valuable in the process of validating anthropological interpretations with study populations and of submitting ethnographic renditions to general publics. Visual methods help study populations to project their views and engage them in dialogue that validates fieldwork while helping them to construct their own and joint visions of "self" and "other." I suggest use of visual instruments at three different stages of fieldwork (conversations around photos, artifacts, and opinion books) involving informants and general publics. Using dialogues on, with, and about the study population produced a multifaceted, richer, and more reflective construction of "the other." Interview instruments that engage the other in their own constructions of otherness are particularly useful in ethnographic research on multicultural and socially stratified contemporary urban societies.
Anthropological Quarterly © 1998 The George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research