Writing culture: postmodernism and ethnography
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In a radical critical gesture, postmodern ethnography emphasizes the concepts of writing, narrative and dialogue against a merely scientific recording of facts. Interestingly, it does not question an outsider's accessibility to cultural space. Instead, ethnographic knowledge is grounded on a philosophical claim on the limited nature of native knowledge itself and is rearticulated by an inclusive gesture which involves the native voice in an authentic expression of diversity. This is a redemptive gesture which fails to interrogate the limit of knowledge and reproduces the conventional ethnographic demand that the other should speak up. Following a deconstructive reading, the article suggests that the ethnographic text should instead open itself to the limit and should remark the radical loss it implies as an ethical opening of and questioning by the other, because this is the limit where the name of 'Man' is inscribed as the name of the native informant. Copyright © 2006 SAGE Publications.