I’ve just got back from vacation — sorry for the radio silence — and have been thinking about anthropology as personal transformation. There is a long and deep current of feeling in anthropology which sees doing anthropology as something that changes the person who does it and argues, in various ways, that this change itself is worthwhile, or a form of knowledge in itself, or philosophically or ethically important. Often this is framed in terms of fieldwork, and the way that long-term immersive fieldwork (often in ‘another culture’) transforms the person who undergoes it.
I’d like to write a series of posts exploring the different ways in which this current or impulse presents itself in anthropology and how it is often in conflict with another deep current in anthropological thought: the idea that anthropology ought be objective, and anxiety that our methods and writing are not objective enough.
Uh… whether I actually write that series of posts remains to be seen but in the meantime… anyone else have ideas about this topic?