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Coutin and Hirsch (1998) Naming Resistance: Ethnographers, Dissidents, and States

Coutin, Susan B., and Hirsch, Susan F. (1998) "Naming resistance: Ethnographers, dissidents, and states", In: Anthropological Quarterly 71(1), pp. 1-17.

Coutin, Susan B., and Hirsch, Susan F.
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 Ethnographic analyses of political dissidence are deeply implicated in the political contests about which ethnographers write. A comparison of the authors' fieldwork among dissidents in Argentina, Kenya, and the United States reveals both the differing dynamics of contests over thepolitical and the complex ways that ethnographers are situated within such contests. In Argentina during the last period of military rule it was dangerous to be defined as political; in Kenya, when multiparty elections were finally authorized, being recognized as political was a prerequisite for legitimacy; and in the United States, where protest is officially legal but unofficially suspect, being defined as political has advantages and disadvantages. We argue that ethnographic writing is inextricable from such contests, and we advocate more explicit attention to how anthropologists negotiate their positions during fieldwork and how they reposition themselves through their writing.