Let's get equipped! Objections as ethnographic devices
So Yeon Leem
(Seoul National University)
Daecheong Ha (Korea National Bioethics Policy Instititue)
Kangwon Lee (Institute of Cultural Studies, South Korea)
Paper short abstract:
The authors have encountered 'objections' from natives while studying up surgeons, professors, and scientists. Based on their fieldwork experiments, this study suggests that objections are useful ‘devices’ for ethnographers who aim to collaborate with natives and create anthropological knowledge in new ways.
Paper long abstract:
This study deals with natives' 'objections' which the three authors commonly encountered while they 'studied up' a plastic surgery clinic and the mad-cow diseases debates in South Korea, and disaster prevention research centers in Japan, respectively. Our natives - surgeons, university professors, and scientists - reviewed, questioned, criticized, and, sometimes, made suggestions on our own researches. On the one hand, our research affected the natives and exposed their new voices, which, on the other hand, also transformed researchers and their studies. Authors produced differences in and reflected with natives on their own research in terms of its contents, methods, and values through natives' objections. Based on three authors' experiences, this paper proposes that natives' objections are opportunities to reach for new kinds of anthropological knowledge and collaboration, rather than something to be disregarded as native resistance and rejections against our ethnography. This paper is an attempt to appreciate and formalize objections as 'ethnographic devices' so that any anthropologists can be equipped with them in their fields as scientists work with experimental devices in their laboratories. This study suggests that objections are useful devices for ethnographers who aim to collaborate with natives and create anthropological knowledge in new ways.
Ethnography as collaboration/experiment