Discomforting ethnography and contentious biographies: the case of Argentina
Victoria Goddard (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper considers ethnographic encounters that produce experiences of discovery and discomfort where biography and ethnography do not run parallel to each other. To reconnect biography and ethnography, the paper discusses a single case that sits uneasily with the politics of memory in Argentina.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will explore the ways in which ethnographic encounters produce experiences of discovery and discomfort where biography and ethnography do not mirror or run parallel to each other. The paper explores the entanglement of emotion and reflection as a condition of research where temporal and spatial dislocations separate the native ethnographer from the subjects of the research. In the case of Argentina, historical violence, death and survival mark the interactions between different political and generational cohort. In these circumstances, the exiled and returned native researcher is never perceived as neutral, is neither an insider nor an outsider. To explore how memory defines and redefines gender, generation and politics, and to attempt to reconnect the links between biography and ethnography, the paper focuses on the case of a single victim of violence, one that does not easily fit into the commemorative and politicized delineation of a 'lost' - sometimes heroic and sometimes problematic - generation.
Reason and passion: the parallel worlds of ethnography and biography