Paul Henley

Compared with the films produced by academic anthropologists, which were modest in both scope and technical complexity, or even with those produced for museums or for empire- and nation-building purposes, the films of ethnographic interest made during the first half of the twentieth century by film-makers working for commercial production companies were generally much more imaginative and technically accomplished. In order to make their films accessible to a popular audience, far from eschewing authorship, as anthropologists of the period

in Beyond observation
Films of the Sensory Ethnography Lab
Paul Henley

Since its establishment in 2006, the Sensory Ethnography Lab at the University of Harvard (henceforth the SEL) has been responsible for an impressive series of innovative and technically accomplished films, a number of which have vaulted the frontiers of academia and been widely distributed through festivals and even general cinema release, mostly to critical acclaim in the mass media. At the same time, these films have contributed to a lively debate within academia about the very nature of ethnographic film-making and, indeed, of ethnography

in Beyond observation
Open Access (free)
The ethics and politics of research with the ‘far right’
Hilary Pilkington

audiences. The argument has three components. First, there is no methodological obstacle to such research; the experience of access, formation and management of relations with respondents in this study demonstrates that it is possible to develop the quality of relations necessary to do meaningful ethnographic research with distasteful groups. Second, to generate such relations does not require unacceptable epistemological (claiming an ‘objective’ position) or ethical (feigning sympathy) compromise. Respondents accept that research can be undertaken in the interests of

in Loud and proud
Open Access (free)
Towards a sonic ethnography of the Maggio festival in Accettura
Lorenzo Ferrarini and Nicola Scaldaferri

such event in Italy. Over many years, scholars, photographers and filmmakers have provided a number of perspectives on the festival. However, in this chapter, which is based on long-term team research led by Scaldaferri since 2002 (Scaldaferri and Feld 2019 ), we argue that the sonic aspect of the festival has often been overlooked – perhaps precisely because of its striking visual characteristics. A sonic ethnography, on the other hand, allows the detection of mechanisms at work during the festival that were previously unnoticed. Importantly, it also highlights

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Entanglements and ambiguities
Saurabh Dube

discipline was implicitly founded on broad disjunctions between Western societies grounded in history and reason, on the one hand, and non-Western cultures held in place by myth and ritual, on the other. 2 Such premises came to underlie particular protocols of salvage anthropology, also shoring up formative dispositions of the ethnographic enterprise. These procedures and orientations have been

in Subjects of modernity
Nico Randeraad

österreichischen Monarchie and the accompanying ethnographic map were an unprecedentedly accurate, empirical description of the ‘Vielvölkerstaat’. It was based on the population census of 1851, but presented little numerical data. The work was steeped in the German tradition of descriptive statistics, but also 64 chap3.indd 64 02/12/2009 12:14:17 Vienna 1857 attempted to breathe new life into that tradition. ‘Staatenkunde’ (political science), the predecessor of descriptive statistics, had incorporated geographical and topographical descriptions since the eighteenth century

in States and statistics in the nineteenth century
Peter C. Little

6 Witnessing e-­waste through participatory photography in Ghana Peter C. Little Introduction Drawing on extended ethnographic research in Agbogbloshie, an urban scrapyard in Accra, Ghana that has become the subject of a contentious electronic waste (e-­waste) narrative, this chapter explores the extent to which citizen1 photography and similar participatory visual research efforts augment contemporary toxic studies in general and e-­waste studies in particular. Attuned to the visual promises, politics, and possibilities of photography in toxic landscapes

in Toxic truths
Open Access (free)
Passion and politics
Hilary Pilkington

, socially, most pernicious? And does not such self-imposed constraint on what and how we research not weaken claims to the systematic creation and critique of knowledge (Gillan and Pickerill, 2012: 136)? This is not to dismiss the political implications of choosing to conduct an ethnographic study of a movement widely perceived to actively perpetuate racism. It is to take the position that there should be no areas of social life that are unfit for scientific study (Kirby and Corzine, 1981: 15) and to argue that such studies extend our, very limited, understanding of the

in Loud and proud
Paul Henley

The films considered in this final chapter were based on a participatory praxis and involved an extended period of ethnographic fieldwork. They were all made in a cultural environment that differed significantly from the film-maker's own, thereby raising certain questions – some intellectual, others ethical – that are not so starkly posed when film-maker, subjects and audience all inhabit much the same cultural universe. As authored works of cinema, they all go beyond observation in the sense that the relationship between film-maker and

in Beyond observation
Open Access (free)
The complexities of collaborative authorship
Paul Henley

David and Judith MacDougall were far from alone in developing reflexive and participatory ‘ways of doing’ ethnographic film-making during the 1970s and 1980s. Many other ethnographic film-makers in the English-speaking world were working in a similar manner during this period, including a number of those who had been active in the 1950s and 1960s, and whose work I describe in Chapters 3 and 4 . Abandoning the aspiration to produce objective film records of the kind envisaged by Margaret Mead, they too developed collaborative authorial

in Beyond observation