Accepted Paper:

The importance of re-interpretation of dominant concepts: a suggestion for mutual anthropology  


Yuko Shioji (Hannan University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents the author’s methodological difficulties and existential gain in fieldwork and research in England, and suggests a possibility of re- interpretation of the existed concept of social science as an example for promoting mutual understanding in contemporary anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

In my first 18-month fieldwork in the English countryside from 1996 to 1997, I found peculiar difficulties about what and why the people think of "ethnic" and "exotic". I was seen as an ethnic minority in an English country town and was often evaluated as the 'brave' ethnic person researching the culture of the majority in the society where the study of anthropology originated and trying to contribute to my own country. The English countryside has a lot of "incomers" who are middle class, well-educated and retired people from cities. But, since 1990s they are the majority of the people living there. Because of the clear admiration for the countryside in Britain, incomers were attracted to live in the countryside where there is a variety of natural and cultural heritage. As I was being gradually accepted and sometimes totally rejected as an "ethnic" person in the community, I came to have an idea which I can think in another way around. To analyze the formation of the English identity in relation to their management of heritage, I took off the existing framework of the concept of "ethnicity" which locates the whites in the centre to look at other people and which never looked at the whites as objectives of the concept. I applied the boundary theory of ethnicity theory for it. What we need for mutual anthropology is to re-interpret dominant concepts and find out a way of mutual understanding of the contemporary world.

Panel P116
Mutual anthropology: a proposal for future equality in the discipline