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Ortner (1995) Resistance and the Problem of Ethnographic Refusal

 Ortner, Sherry B. (1995), "Resistance and the problem of ethnographic refusal". In: Comparative Studies in Society and History 37(1), pp. 173-193.


Ortner, Sherry B.
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 Ethnography of course means many things. Minimally, however, it has always meant the attempt to understand another life world using the self-as much of it as possible as the instrumentof knowing. As is by now widely known, ethnography has come under a great deal of internal criticism within anthropology over the past decade or so, but this minimal definition has not for the most part been challenged. This essay traces the effects of what I call ethnographic refusal on a series of studies surrounding the subject of resistance. I argue that many of the most influential studies of resistance are severely limited by the lack of an ethnographic perspective.Resistance studies in turn are meant to stand in for a great deal of interdisciplinary work being done these days within and across the social sciences, history, literature, cultural studies, and so forth.