Culture & Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis

Culture & Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis

Renato Rosaldo

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 080704623X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Exposing the inadequacies of old conceptions of static cultures and detached observers, the book argues instead for social science to acknowledge and celebrate diversity, narrative, emotion, and subjectivity.

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notion that in the human sciences reports must be modeled rather abjectly on those of the natural sciences.'' 17 For Turner, classic ethnographies have proven dreadfully poor vehicles for apprehending how reason, feeling, and will come together in people's daily lives. In a more political vein, he goes on to say that older-style ethnographies split subject from object and present other lives as visual spectacles for metropolitan consumption. "Cartesian dualism," he says, "has insisted on

undocumented workers, tariffs try to keep out Japanese imports, and ce- Page 45 lestial canopies promise to fend off Soviet missiles. Such efforts to police and barricade reveal, more than anything else, how porous "our" borders have become. The Lone Ethnographer's guiding fiction of cultural compartments has crumbled. So-called natives do not "inhabit" a world fully separate from the one ethnographers "live in." Few people simply remain in their place these days. When people play

manner of a montage than a linear narrative, my heterogeneous examples attempt to show how ideology can be at once compelling, contradictory, and pernicious. 5 The dismantling occurs by giving Page 74 voice to the ideologies, even at their most persuasive, and allowing them, as the analysis proceeds, to fall under their own weight as the inconsistencies within and between voices become apparent. Just as no ideology is as coherent as it tries to appear, no single voice remains without

theorist Raymond Williams similarly argues that objectivist social analysis conflates society with already completed processes. When society is reduced to fixed forms, social processes elude analysis. Williams argues that the processes he calls structures of feeling (a deliberate paradox) both shape and reflect the quality of social relations. Structures of feeling differ from such concepts as "worldview" and "ideology" because they are just emerging, still implicit, and not yet fully articulate.

tell of race discrimination at Barnard. I made a few friends in the first few days. . . . The Social Register Crowd at Barnard soon took me up, and I became Barnard's sacred black cow. If you had not had lunch with me, you had not shot from taw. I was secretary to Fannie Hurst and living at her 67th Street duplex apartment, so things were going very well with me.38 Hemenway takes Hurston's statements about the absence of prejudice at Barnard all too literally. Surely as the object of

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