Ethnography as Aprendizaje

Growing and using collaborative knowledge with the People’s Produce Project in San Diego

Authored by: A. L. Anderson-Lazo

The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415583954
eBook ISBN: 9781315743950
Adobe ISBN: 9781317590675


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As scholars newly trained in anthropology increasingly construct their livelihoods around shifting combinations of academic affiliation and public as well as private sector employment, discussions of how meaningful ethnographic collaborations and partnerships develop over time also can address questions about sustaining the discipline. There are many rich examples of how long-term ethnography leads to collaboration in more than merely data collection. Ethnographers engaging this expanding diversity of potential collaborators, then, can reveal as well as examine the dynamics of long-term collaboration. Joanne Rappaport, for instance, describes how collaborative fieldwork creates a space for “co-conceptualization.” Reflecting on years of team ethnography in Colombia, she explores, ethnographically, the tension between academy-based ethnographers who “engage in cultural description with an eye to analyzing it,” and “indigenous autoethnographers [who] study culture to act upon it” (2008:21). The online photo archive and prefaces contributed by participants in Susan B. Hyatt’s (2012) recent ethnography about a collaborative community history project demonstrate how multiple interpretations and uses of anthropological knowledge can coincide. As one contributor astutely notes, often the process is more valuable to communities than the “end products.”

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