We are comfortable with utopian thinking: collaborative ethnography as a starting point for a counterhegemonic anthropological practice
Angélica Cabezas Pino
(University of Manchester)
Paper short abstract:
Using the texts of the Latin-American authors Orlando Fals Borda and Boaventura de Sousa Santos, and my own experience as a researcher, I argue that collaboration in Anthropology must be radicalized as a counter-hegemonic method that can challenge societal fascism and post-colonialist oppression.
Paper long abstract:
It´s time for a provocation. Institutionalised anthropology and its hegemonic depictions must be left behind, as the only way to dismantle colonialist and imperialist discourses. For this, collaborative anthropological practice must be at the heart of this new process of knowledge production. We must act critically and by this -as José Martí- said "The (symbolical) north must be left behind". Collaborative ethnography must be confronted as an everyday practice of trust and deep engagement that walks away from the bureaucracy of knowledge, to break "societal fascism", as called by Santos. We, anthropologist must go beyond our comfort zone and well known practices, to engage with an ethnography of shared knowledge production, with a work that do not operate from hierarchies in order to not reproduce well-known paths of knowledge articulation. Relying on practices that modern anthropology standardised, our discipline usually takes off from very similar starting points in epistemological, theoretical and political terms. By attempting a deep collaborative ethnography we are arguing that knowledge does not follow a vertical direction but a horizontal and multi-vectorial logic. I propose to articulate a practice of anthropology from the South, in an Anthropology that engage deeply with the challenge of creating knowledge together. For this I analyse one example of these Epistemologies of the South, by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Participatory Action research by Orlando Fals-Borda; and finally I consider some of the strengths and weaknesses of my own work in Chile.
The praxis of collaborative ethnography: knowledge production with social movements