- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 7, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415088194
- ISBN-13: 978-0415088190
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Taboo: Sex, Identity and Erotic Subjectivity in Anthropological Fieldwork 1st Edition
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About the Author
Don Kulick is Associate Professor in the Department of Child Studies at Kinkopings University, Sweden. Margaret Willson is a Lecturer and Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Northern Washington University.
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Top customer reviews
The attempt was to create a discourse on the way that an ethnographer's own sexuality and/or gender might affect their fieldwork, and how inherent biases might appear as a result. As Kulick points out, this is a subject that remains almost taboo in the field--something avoided as strenuously as possible by an increasingly large field of anthropologists who strike out under the flag of perfect (but impossible) objectivity.
Despite the good intentions of the editors, and true genius of their proposed topic, many of the contributors barely manage to have anything important to say. The book is erratic at best, and one could only wish that the editors had held each contributor to the same standard they took in their work.
Some of the essays are excellent. Blackwood's account of a lesbian affair in the field, and her subsequent marginalization in social settings, is excellent. Another anthropologist writes of her rape in the field; a contribution which touches on gender roles, violation, nationalism and cultural authenticity, and the problems with an anthropological administration that often limits women's access to the field when the work can be seen as "dangerous."
Others are truly horrific. Ralph Bolton's apparently pointless reconstruction of his many sexual encounters in Europe was never really destined for an academic resource. In his desire to relate his personal sexual experiences, he totally forgets the ethnographic spirit of the topic.
There is meat here, but the analytical edge is missing. It's like reading a semi-sordid dime-store novel in places, there's almost no emphasis on the construction or formation of any anthropology.
At times, the reader is thoroughly uncomfortable with the level of personal detail here...but this is exactly the point. We aren't used to our ethnographer's detailing themselves, their own eroticism, sexuality, and desires.