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Volume :38 Issue : 2 2010      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Methodology in Postmodern Anthropology: Descriptive and Analytical Preview

Auther : Sayed M. Faris

This study discusses postmodernism as a western cultural and intellectual phenomenon, which embodies a fierce critique pointed at the axial principles and foundations of the western modernism project, and promotes itself as the antithesis of modernism. The adjective postmodern has been appended to a staggering array of phenomena, from the arts to the media to the world in which we live today. Post-modernity may be most easily defined as conditions relevant to many living in present (postmodern) times. These conditions include the circulation of people (via mass transit), information (via computers and telecommunications), and images and ideas (via mass media) at unprecedented rates. Postmodernity concentrates on the tensions of difference and similarities erupting from these globalization processes. Postmodern Anthropology is one of postmodernism’s main currents in the social sciences. It refuses and breaks with the pivots of scientific modern Anthropology (1920-1975) and turns it down. It also represents a transparent disparagement of western science and technology, and other strands that follow from this central tenet include:

(a) The representation of social life as a text, and the elevation of text and language as the fundamental phenomena of existence.

(b) The Application of literary analysis to all phenomena.

(c) The questioning of reality and the adequacy of language to describe reality.

(d) Disdain for or rejection of method.

e) Rejection of broad theories or meta-narratives.

(f) Advocacy of polyvocality.

(g) Focus on power relations and cultural hegemony.

(h) Rejection of western institutions and achievements.

(i) Extreme relativism and a tendency toward nihilism. This study focuses on postmodernism’s claims against modernist epistemology and the problem of methodology in postmodern anthropology, while evoking a critique and developing new research strategies, such as a reflexive ethnography, multi-sited ethnography, deconstruction, and interpretation.

Key words: Postmodern anthropology, Postmodern methodology, Deconstruction, Interpretation, Multi-sited ethnography, Ethnography of evocation, Polyphonic ethnography, Narrative ethnography, reflexive ethnography.

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