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Anthropology and Colonialism

Author(s): Diane Lewis


Reviewed work(s):
Source: Current Anthropology, Vol. 14, No. 5 (Dec., 1973), pp. 581-602
Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological
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Vol.
CURRENTANTHROPOLOGY 14,No. 5, December1973
) 1973 by The Wenner-GrenFoundation for AnthropologicalResearch

Anthropologyand Colonialism
byDiane Lewis

INTRODUCTION Association(1969) and the publicationof articles


whichexplore the social and moral responsibilities
ANTHROPOLOGY iS in a stateof crisis.This is demon- oftheanthropologist (e.g.,Diamond1966; Berreman
strated,in the field and in the classroom,by the 1968,1970; Gough 1968;Jorgensen1971)are recent
markedestrangement betweenanthropologists and attempts to definetheproblem.
thenonwhite people theyhavetraditionally studied.' It is significant thatthiscriticalself-examination
The prospective fieldworker, forexample,mayfind among anthropologists has appeared concomitantly
thathe is banned by the governmentor rejected withthegrowingself-awareness of nonwhitepeople.
bytheintellectuals of the countryhe seeksto enter; The two are not unrelated,and both should be
or he may be forcedto pose as an economistor broughtto bearon an attempttoanalyzethecurrent
sociologistin order to gain acceptance.Frequently crisis.This paper attemptsto pull togetherinsights
he encountersresentmentfromthe group he has gainedfromtheferment emergingfrom
of criticism
chosento study.A willingness to toleratetheanthro- both sources.Since it examinesanthropologyfrom
pologisthas been replacedby outrightdistrustand theviewpointof Third Worldpeople, the emphasis
suspicion.Finally,whenthefieldworker returnshome is necessarily on thosenegatively viewedaspectsof
to writeand lectureabout"his"people,he is increas- thedisciplinewhichwillprovidea betterunderstand-
inglyconfronted byrepresentatives ofthegroupwho ing of the currentbehaviorand attitudesof many
challengethevalidity of his findings. nonwhitepeople towardanthropologists. This is not
Disillusionment withthe disciplinefromoutside to deny the positivecontributions of anthropology
is paralleledby growingcriticism fromwithin.Most nor to implyeitherthat anthropologycan be ex-
ofthiscriticism,appearingincreasingly in theUnited plainedonlyin thesetermsor thatthesituationand
Statessincethesecondhalfof the 1960s,has focused consciousmotivesofall anthropologists parallelthose
on the failureof anthropologists to come to terms describedhere. Similarly,sinceanthropology, until
withand acceptresponsibility forthepoliticalimpli- recentdecades,has had a unique developmentand
cationsof theirwork.The establishment of a Com- impacton thenon-Western world,ithas been singled
mitteeon Ethicsby the AmericanAnthropological out fromthe other social sciencesfor discussion.
Nevertheless, it should be keptin mindthatmany
of thecriticisms statedhereapplyas wellto theother
socialsciences.Thus, thispaper focuseson anthro-
pology,ratherthan the social sciencesin general,
DIANE LEWIS is Professorof Anthropology at San Francisco and itpurposelyhighlights thosefactorsin thedevel-
State College and VisitingProfessorof Anthropology for opmentof thedisciplinewhichnowalienateanthro-
1972-73at the University of Californiaat Santa Cruz. Born pologistsfromtheirsubjectmatterand whichin the
in 1931,she was educatedat the University of Californiaat
Los Angeles(B.A., 1952;M.A.,1954)andat CornellUniversity pastunquestionably affectedtheirwork.
(Ph.D., 1962). She has taughtat the University of California The paper considersthe traditionalrelationship
at Santa Barbara(1961) and at the University of California betweenanthropology and itsnonwhitesubjectmat-
at Riverside(1961-62). She has done fieldwork in Malaysia
and Indonesiaand in a blackcommunity in theSan Francisco ter.It exploressomeof thehistorical conditionsand
Bay area and recentlyspenta sabbaticalleave in traveland assumptions upon whichthisrelationship was based
studyin East Africa.Her researchinterests are sociocultural
change,urbananthropology, comparative familyand kinship and examinestheireffecton theoryand methodin
systems, effect
sex roledifferentiation, of biason researchand anthropology. Finally,it suggestsan alternativeto
teaching,and Afro-American cultures.Her article"Inas: A the presentapproach as a means of establishinga
StudyofLocal History" appearedin theJournal oftheMalaysian
BranchoftheRoyalAsiaticSociety 33. viablesocialscience.
The presentpaper,submitted in finalform17 iv 72, was
sent for commentto 50 scholars,of whom the following
responded:XavierAlb6,GeraldBerthoud,David Brokensha,
EdwardM. Bruner,RichardFrucht,HelmuthFuchs,Gutorm
Gjessin*,JitkaJunkova, GilbertKushner,KhalilNakhleh,Xto
*. Okojie,MaxwellOwusu,RomanRaczynski, HubertReyn- 'This estrangementhas also beendramatically for
portrayed
olds,Takao Sofue,MilanStuchlik, Arthur J.Vidich,and Renate the past threeyearsat the annual AmericanAnthropological
von Gizycki.Their commentsare printedafterthe textand Association in thevarioussymposiaand panelson the
meetings,
are followedbya replyfromtheauthor. topic organized by nonwhiteanthropologists.
Vol.14 * No. 5 1973
December 581

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THE ROLE OF ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE Sinceanthropology emergedalongwiththeexpan-
WEST sionof Europeand thecolonization ofthenon-West-
ern world,anthropologists foundthemselves partici-
wasthediscovery pants in thecolonial system which organized relation-
A long-range goalof anthropology and non-Westerners. It is,
of generallaws and propositionsabout the nature shipsbetweenWesterners
of mankind.The circumstances of itsfounding,that perhaps, more than a coincidence that a method-
is,Westernexpansionand thediscovery of the non- ologicalstance,thatof the outsider, and a method-
Westernworld,meantthattheselaws and proposi- ological approach, "objectivity," developed whichin
retrospect seem to have been influencedby,and in
tions were based on a close studyof the newly turnto have supported,the colonial system.This
discovered"primitives." However,an immediateand
practicalpurposeof anthropology was to fillin the pointofview,basedon theanalysisofanthropology's
role in the West,deserveselaboration,forit throws
gaps of Westernman's knowledgeabout himself
(Diamond1964:432;Worsley1964:11; fora parallel considerable lighton the currentdistrustof anthro-
pologists among non-Western people.
pointof view,see Jones1970:256).
Giventhe significance of anthropology as a tool
in Westernman's search for self-understanding, it THE COLONIAL CONTEXT OF FIELDWORK
wasan important methodological assumption thatthe
studyof the"primitive" or non-Western worldcould The historical setting ofanthropology hasbeenvividly
takeplace onlyfromthevantagepointof the West- described(Levi-Strauss1966:126)as
erner or outsider. Anthropology, as Levi-Strauss
(1966:126) putsit,"is the scienceof cultureas seen ... theoutcome ofa historical processwhichhas made
fromtheoutside."Diamond(1964:433,myemphasis) thelargerpartofmankind subservient to theother,and
describestheanthropological processas one whereby during whichmillions ofinnocent humanbeingshavehad
"zwe snap the portrait. . . it is onlya representative theirresources plundered andtheirinstitutions andbeliefs
ofour civilizationwhocan, in adequatedetail,docu- destroyed, whilsttheythemselves wereruthlessly killed,
mentthe difference, and helpcreatean idea of the thrown intobondage,andcontaminated bydiseasesthey
primitive whichwould not ordinarily be constructed wereunabletoresist.
by primitives themselves." Thus, if the nativeswere
to studythemselves, theyweresaid to producehis- This"eraofviolence"produceda socialsystem which
toryor philology,not anthropology(Levi-Strauss had a pervasiveeffecton the relationshipbetween
1966:126).The questionsasked,theproblemsposed, the anthropologistand the people he studied.
and theconstruct ofthe"primitive" formulated tend- Whetherhe played the role of detached observer
ed to reflectinterestsexternalto thegroupsstudied. (theoretical anthropologist) or thatofliaisonbetween
This was, in a mannerto be explained below, as thedominantEuropeanand subjectnonwhitegroups
trueof appliedas of "pure"anthropology. (appliedanthropologist), therolesweresignificantly
Sincetheanthropologist workedamidtheprofound affectedbyhis membership in thedominantgroup.
economicand politicalchangeswhichaccompanied The anthropologist, like the other Europeans in
the confrontation betweenthe Westand the restof a colony,occupieda positionof economic,political,
the world, he was often called upon to provide and psychologicalsuperiority vis-a-visthe subject
information and advice to the Westin itseffortsto people. Fromthispointof viewit would seem that
manipulateand controlthe non-Western world.He the conditionsresponsiblefor the relationshipof
providedtheinformation eitherdirectly or indirectly inequalitybetweenWesternerand non-Westerner
and became,thereby,implicatedin the processof werealso thosewhichcreateda need fortheanthro-
colonization.When the anthropologist thoughtof pologistandassuredthattheindigenouspeoplewould
himselfat all as an actor in this confrontation, be accessibleto himforstudy.(See Foster1969:184-
however,it was generallyas a detached scientific 203 fora discussionof the developmentof anthro-
observer,objectivelyrecording"primitive" lifeways pology in Britishcolonial administration and in
beforetheydisappearedor becameWesternized, or Americanadministration of "dependent"people.)
else as a bufferbetweentwoworlds,servingto soften Economicand legaladvantagesaccordedotherEuro-
the blow of Westernpoliticaldominationand eco- peansin theformof betterjobs,higherwages,lower
nomicexploitation.He rarelyquestionedor studied taxes,and accessto cheaperlaborwerealso enjoyed
theprocessof confrontation itselfor consideredthe bytheanthropologist, who,ideally,obtaineda large
waythismilieuaffectedhis "laboratory conditions." researchgrant(tax-free), paid informants a pittance,
This oversightis apparentin the numerousstudies if anything,and landed a prestigiousjob when he
ofculturecontactand cultureconflict whichignored returnedhome.Alltoooften,littleattention waspaid
the effectsof colonizationon the culturesstudied to the factthatthe benefitsgained were based on
and on the conditionsunder whichfieldworkwas exploitationof the natives.(See Memmi 1967:7-8
conducted.(See Worsley1964 for a rare studyby for a brilliantanalysisof the inverserelationship
a Westernsocial scientistwhichdoes considerthe betweenEuropeanprivileges and colonizeddepriva-
effectsof colonialism;see also Magubane 1971 for tion.)The psychological superiority oftheanthropol-
a recentcriticism by a Third Worldanthropologist ogistwas derivedfromthe factthathe consistently
of anthropological studiesof change whichignore receivedpreferential treatment, notonlyfromother
colonialism.) Europeansin positionsof politicalpower,but also
582 C U R R E N T A N T H R O P O L OG Y

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fromthe subjectpeoples themselves.For the most Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
part,thisspecialtreatment wasaccorded,notbecause
ofsuperioraccomplishments or contributions valued she asks,". . . are we such timeserversthatwe change
bythenativepeople,but simplybecausetheanthro- viewswhen powerchangeshands?" She prefersto
pologistwas a memberof thegroupin power. thinknot.
In this context,it mightseem that the anthro- In contrast,Maquet(1964) postulatesthatin their
pologist'sfacility in engagingin fieldwork, like that theoreticalorientationsanthropologists workingin
of theindustrialist in obtainingcheap labor,derived Africaat differentperiodsdidunconsciously support
fromthesubjugationbyhisown government of the the politicaland administrative goals of theirown
people he was studying.Yet thisfactwentunchal- countriesvis-a-visthe groupsstudied.He attempts
lenged if not unnoticed.Gough (1968:404) notes: to showhowduringthecolonialera,unilinealevolu-
"We tendedto accept the imperialist framework as tionismdevelopedan imageof the "savage"which
given,perhaps partlybecause we were influenced seemed to justifycolonialexpansion;and how, be-
bythedominantideasofourtime,and partlybecause tweenWorldWar I and WorldWar II (as Mairnotes
at the time there was littleanyone could do to focusedon thehealth
above),structural-functionalism
dismantlethe empire." (See also Mair 1965:439.) and holisticintegrationof traditionalculturesand
Undoubtedlymostanthropologists wereappalled by thedisruptive effects at a period
of industrialization,
the colonialrelationship and consciouslyrejectedit. whenWesternrulewas beginningto be undermined
Thereinlies the paradox; forno matterhow great by educated radical Africanurbanitesadvocating
the anthropologist's aversionto the colonialsystem, change.Throughstressingthe moralinferiority of
he was,as a fieldworker, unable to functionoutside the Africanat an earlier period and the dangers
of it.2 It was as impossiblefor him as for other of rapid changeat a laterone and emphasizingthe
Europeanstoremainina colonywithout participating differencebetweenEuropeanand Africanthrough-
in the powerand privilegesof thedominantgroup out,theanthropologist wasproviding conceptualand
(e.g., Memmi1967:17). theoreticalmodelswhichwere sociallyusefulto the
A great manyanthropologists doubtlessfeltthat existingcolonialsystem.(Diamond[1971:172] makes
theirunderstanding ofthenativepeopleplacedthem theadditionalpointthat19th-century theoriesabout
in the positionto bargainon theirbehalf.Yet, as primitiveswerein factprojectionsofEuropeanman's
noted,theseindividualsrarelyquestionedthe basic self-image.)
relationship of privilegeand were,therefore, in the WhileEuropeananthropologists workingin Africa
somewhat ambiguouspositionofmanyliberalsin our seem to have been more sensitivethan American
own society,who workto reforma situationfrom anthropologiststothissituation,
attempts in American
whichtheythemselves derivedefinitebenefits.Nev- anthropologyto investigatethe interplaybetween
ertheless,thestructure of interpersonal relationships theoryand the dominantpolitical-economic ideas of
withina socialsystemtendsto influencesignificantly a periodare beginningto emerge(e.g., Wolf 1970,
theattitudes oftheparticipants. As Memmi(1967:20) Moore 1971; see also Mills 1959 and Myrdal1969
pointsout: "It is not easy to escape mentallyfrom for more generaldiscussionsof the social sciences
a concretesituation,to refuse its ideologywhile fromthisviewpoint).
continuing to livewithitsactualrelationships....
The positiontaken here is that the dominant
politicalinterestsof thetimesnotonlyblindedmany
anthropologists to the implications of theirposition, ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIAL RACISM
butalso influencedthem,apparentlyunconsciously,
to justifythe prevailingcolonialsocial system.For Analogousto the processwherebyanthropologists
example,Mair (1965:439-40) discussesthe shiftin whodecriedcolonialism developedtheoreticalmodels
attitudestoward social change of anthropologists whichsupporteditisthetendency foranthropologists
workingin Africabeforeand afterWorldWar II: whoovertly foughtracismat thesametimeto perpe-
trateformulations, attitudes,and behaviorswhich
We all made ourselvesthe defendersof Africancustom fosteredit.Racismis developedbya groupto justify
againstits critics,and against policiesaimed at radical itsprivilegedposition(see,forexample,Jordan1968,
change.... We used to saythatpeopleshouldlearnfrom Gossett 1963, Carmichael and Hamilton 1967).
the industrialrevolutionin Europe and so spare Africa Memmi(1967:71) arguesthatthereare threeideo-
itsworsthorrors.I am notsurewhatwe meantbythis. logicalbasesofcolonialracism:"one,thegulfbetween
This is not how people studysocial change today.... thecultureof the colonialistand thecolonized;two,
I thinkitis truethatwenowlookdifferently at thechanges the exploitation of thesedifferences forthe benefit
takingplace in independentAfrica,and thisfactis not of the colonialist;three,the use of these supposed
unconnectedwiththe impatienceof Africa'snew leaders differences as standardsof absolutefact."The an-
forevermorerapidchange. thropologist'sbehaviorand conceptualformulations
participatein all three.
In questioning
why
therehasbeena changeinoutlook, First,anthropologyhas contributedto the gulf
betweenWesternand non-Western cultureby pro-
2 He could,of course,have left.Accordingto Memmi,thisis vidinginformation whichsupportsthe mentalcon-
theonlywaya Europeancan avoid playingtheroleof colonizer
in a colony.A fewanthropologists have exercisedthisoption, structsdevelopedbythoseinpower.Anthropologists,
althoughusuallytheydo so involuntarily. who peer at a culturefromthe outside,recordthe
Vol.14 * No. 5 December
1973 583

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differencesbetweenthatcultureand Westernciviliza- devalueappliedwork.Thus, eventheanthropologist
tion.The notingof differences betweentwogroups who moves into the applied field finds his work
is not in itselfracist,but it invariablyacquiressuch constrainedby his preoccupationwiththe demands
a connotationin the contextof colonialism.The of hisprofessional academiccareer.
anthropologist who conductsfieldwork in a colonial Anthropologists use subject people in another,
settingprovidesthatdocumentation of differences more subtleway. The exploitationis perhaps less
whichfunctionsto supportcontinuedsubjugation apparent,but mustbe considered,forit involvesan
of thegrouphe studies. attitude,describedlater,whichcontributesto the
Secondly,anthropologists promotetheexploitation systemof oppressionperpetratedagainstnon-West-
of these differencesfor their own benefit,both ern people.Anthropology, in itsconcernwithexotic
personaland professional. This isdemonstrated most cultures,has been marginalto Westernculture,and
blatantly in theattitudeof mostanthropologists that anthropologists, as a group, have been somewhat
theyhave the rightto exploitthe people theystudy alienatedfromtheirownculture.Consequently, many
for their own professionaladvancement,without anthropologists go to the fieldlookingfor a kind
havinga corresponding senseofcommitment tothem of utopia, a place where theyhope to find those
or theirneeds. They rarelyfeel the obligationto thingssorelylackingin the West. In condemning
"do something"and, in fact,justifytheirinactivity and in lookingforalternatives
civilization to it,they
throughrecourseto the canon of scientific "objec- developa highlyromanticized viewof non-Western
tivity."We shallreturnto a discussionof theimplica- people.Braroeand Hicks(1967) havedescribedthis
tionsof "objectivity"in a colonialcontextbelow. attitudeas part of the "mystique"of anthropology.
Romano (1968) and Diamond (1966), among Fieldworkundertakenin thisspiritis more than a
others,have dramatically describedhow the profes- means of collectingdata; it becomesvirtually"an
sional interestsof the anthropologist engenderan end in itself." Regular visits to the field and
insensitivitytothepersonalinterests ofhisinformants. preoccupationwiththe "primitive" enable the an-
Galtung(1967:296) findsparallelsbetweenthe ex- thropologist tocope withhissenseofalienationfrom
ploitation bysocialscientists and thatbypoliticaland hisownculture,as wellas to advancehimselfprofes-
economicinterests withina colony.He describesthe sionally.
processas scientific colonialism,"a processwhereby Memmihasindicatedthatoncedifferences between
thecenterof gravity fortheacquisitionof knowledge thedominatedand dominantgroupsare definedand
aboutthenationis locatedoutsidethenationitself." thedifferences exploitedforthebenefitof thedomi-
A major aspectof thisprocess(p. 300) is "the idea nantgroup,theyare thencharacterized as "standards
of unlimitedrightof accessto data of anykind,just ofabsolutefact"or as determinative. We findanthro-
as the colonialpowerfeltit had the rightto lay its pologyequallyinvolvedin thisthirdideologicalbasis
hand on any productof commercialvalue in the of colonialracism.It maybe instructive to consider
territory.. . ." He finds that the parallel extends the anthropologist's reificationof cultureas similar
fromthe extractionto the processingof each kind in functionto the racist'sutilizationof biological
of resource(p. 296): determinismto explain social and historicaldif-
ferences.
. . .to exportdata about thecountryto one's own home It iscommonforsomeanthropologists, particularly
countryfor processinginto"manufactured" goods, such in the applied field,to attributea group'sbehavior
as books and articles. . . is essentiallysimilarto what ina particular situation toculturalconditioning, often
happenswhenraw materialsare exportedat a low price
and reimportedas manufactured goods at a veryhigh viewedas highlyresistantto change,and to ignore
cost.The mostimportant, mostcreative,mostentrepre- extracultural factorswhichmaybe farmoresignifi-
neurial,.mostrewardingand mostdifficult phasesof the cant. For example,Lewis (1966) treatsthe culture
processtakeplaceabroad. of povertyas more deterministic of behaviorand
moreresistant to changethan the conditionswhich
The primacyof theorybuildingand career ad- create poverty.This has supported policy which
vancementat the expense of the real problemsof sidestepsthe issueof povertyand focusesratheron
thosestudiedis bestseenin thegenerally lowesteem trying tochangea nebulous"cultureof poverty"(see
in whichapplied anthropologyis held withinthe Valentine 1968:48-77). Bonfil Batalla (1966) has
discipline.It has been pointedout that it is only shownhow the workof GeorgeFosterand Richard
"afteran anthropologist has 'made good' in conven- Adams,amongothers,has similarly led to a strong
tionalresearch[that] he can enjoy the luxuryof conservative bias in appliedanthropology.
appliedresearchwithoutfearingforhis reputation" Whentheanthropologist combinestheidealization
the applied fieldis
(Foster1969:132). Significantly, of primitive culturewiththenotionofculturaldeter-
a luxurytoo fewfeeltheycan afford.For example, minism, theresultis an attitudethatis bothpaternal-
Diamond (1966:5-6) has discussed the anthro- isticand hypocritical. The veryqualitiesof primitive
contemporary
pologist's unwillingnesstogetinvolved lifewhichtheanthropologist romanticizes and wants
withdifficult problemsin the developmentof non- to see preservedare attributes whichhe findsunac-
Western countries such as Africa, and Foster ceptablein his own culture.The personalfreedom
(1969:131-39) has outlinedfactorsresponsiblefor and self-determination he insistsupon for himself
thisreluctancesuchas teachingwhichignoresapplied he withholdsfromthe "primitive" on the basis of
trainingand standardsforconferralof statuswhich culturalconditioningand the need for accommo-

584 C U R R E N T A N T H R O P O L OG Y

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dationof the individualwithinthe community. He LCwis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
writesenthusiasticallyof the highlyintegratedlife
of the "primitive,"
of the lack of stressexperienced that "scientificobjectivity"is a myth,an arbitrary
whenthereis littlefreedomof choiceand fewalter- construct (Roszak1969).Writers havestressedcultur-
nativesfromwhichto choose; yet he defends for al factorssuch as the social,political,and economic
himselfthe rightto make his own decisionsand his positionof theinvestigator and the degreeto which
ownchoices."The determinism so admiredin primi- these influencethe hypothesishe formulates,the
tivesocietyis abhorredin civilization" (Braroe and approachhe chooses,and thedata he selects.These
Hicks 1967:185). factors figureevenmoreprominendy fortheanthro-
Somewritershavesuggestedthatbehaviorcharac- pologist,who differs,not onlyin class or ideology,
terizedby the anthropologists as culturallydeter- but also in the broadestand mostinclusivecultural
minedmay,in fact,be an adaptationto situational characteristics,fromhis objects of research.Thus
pressuresor a reactionto externalpoliticaland it seemshardlypossibleforanthropology to provide
socioeconomic factors(e.g.,Lewis1967,Liebow1967, an impersonalview of social reality(e.g., Maquet
Valentine1968). To ignorethe importanceof such 1964:51).
adaptiveprocessesmakes of culturea straitjacket, Yet "scientific provideda predominant
objectivity"
a rationalization
par excellenceforthestatusquo. intellectualapproachin anthropology, an approach
Anthropologists,then,havedevelopeda conceptu- whichwas congenialto the colonial circumstances
alization,culture,
whichin itsanalyticaland theoretical of anthropology'sbeginnings.When the anthro-
usagesseemsdangerously reflective
of theviewpoint pologistassumed the role of "objective"observer,
of colonialracism.Both the anthropologistand the his behaviorsignificantly affectedthe relationship
colonizerfindin theculturaluniquenessof a people betweenhimselfand his informants: it assuredboth
forperpetuating
justification thingsas theyare. The his estrangement from,and his superordinateposi-
importance oftheconceptofculturemayhelpexplain tionin relationto,thosehe studied.
whyanthropologists acceptedso uncritically
thecolo- As Roszak (1969:217-22) has noted,the process
nial systemin whichtheyoperated. of objectivelystudying othersinvolvesthe treatment
of thosestudiedas things,as objectstowardwhich
there can be no (scientifically) justifiedsense of
THE ANTHROPOLOGIST AS "OBJECTIVE" involvement. Since objectificationof the other re-
OUTSIDER quiresalienationfromhim,it requiresthe observer
to separatehis innerself fromthe outer worldof
Whilethe anthropologist mayhave playedthe part the observed.(See Diamond 1971:167-69fora dis-
of colonizerunwittingly, he has occupied the role cussionof objectification and alienationin anthro-
of outsiderconsciously. It is,in fact,the perspective pology.)This creationof twospheres,an "In-here"
of outsiderwhichis thoughtto assure "objectivity," and an "Out-there"(Roszak 1969:220),permitsthe
an importantmethodological goal. A basic part of qualitativedistinctionbetweenoneselfand theother
the trainingof anthropologists, along withthe cre- that Maslow(1966:49, quoted in Roszak 1969:219)
ation of high culturaltolerancethroughexposure describesas characteristicof theobjectiveobserver:
to culturalrelativity,
is preparationfordetachment "It meanslookingat somethingthatis not you, not
in the field.Anthropologists-in-training are warned human,notpersonal,something independentof you
ofthenegativeresultswhichensuewhentheyidentify the perceiver. . . . You the observerare, then,really
too closelywiththe interestsof those theystudy. alien to it,uncomprehending and withoutsympathy
There is a directrelationship betweenthe scientific or identification.. . ." This alienation must occur
validityof a studyand the degree of "objectivity" beforeit is possibleto acquire knowledgewithout
thoughtto be associatedwiththe approach.This is involvement.
based on the assumptionthatthereis a singlevalid A similarprocessofobjectification
isalsodistinctive
realityand thatthroughpropertrainingthe field- of thecolonialrelationship. Memmi(1967:86) writes
workerlearnsmethodsofapproximating thisreality. thatthecolonized,"at theend of thisstubborneffort
Ideally,twotrainedfieldworkers exposedtothesame to dehumanize him . . . is hardly a human being.
cultureshould,otherthingsbeingequal,emergewith He tends rapidlytowardbecomingan object . . .
virtuallythesame description of thatculture. One does not have a seriousobligationtowardan
The anthropologist's privilegedposition,his role animal or an object." For both the colonizerand
of outsider,and his insistenceon objectivity serve thedetachedobserver, throughdeper-
objectification
to reinforceone another.The assumptionsfostered sonalizationdevaluesthe individual;the individual,
bytheobjectiveapproachcoincidewiththoseengen- preoccupiedwithproblemsthe observerrefusesto
deredbythecolonialrelationship. Further, theyblind acknowledge, is ignored(e.g., Worsley1964:25-26).
theanthropologist, likethecolonizer,to the validity For the colonizer,the colonized"does not existas
of otherthana singleviewof reality. an individual."Similarlythe anthropologist, in his
Manywriters havecaststrongdoubtson thepossi- concernwithpatterns,ethos,structures, is several
bilityof "scientificobjectivity" (e.g., Polyani 1959, levelsof abstraction removedfromthe raw data of
Kuhn 1962, Seeley 1963), particularly objectivity
in individualmotivation, attitude,and behavior.The
thesocialsciences(e.g.,Gjessing1968,BonfilBatalla mostacclaimedand prestigious workin thediscipline
1966,Maquet1964,Mills1959).It hasbeensuggested deals withcomplextheoriesand models in which

Vol.14 * No. 5 * December


1973 585

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individualsare lostsightof as people. a radicaltransformation insocialscienceassumptions,
The act of detached observation,in effectively methodologies, and goalsmusttakeplace. Formula-
dehumanizing theobserved,reduceshimtoan inferi- tionof a disciplinerelevantto the timesmighttake
or position.Whentheobserverrefusesto go beyond as a pointof departureLevi-Strauss's advice: "An-
the fagadeof outwardbehaviorand becomea part thropology willsurvivein a changingworldbyallow-
of the innerworkingsof the observed'sexistence, ing itselfto perishin orderto be bornagain under
he presumptuously assumesthathis outsideunder- a newguise."
standingof theobservedis somehowmorevalidthan Anthropology, it can be argued, must redefine
the observed'sown involvement with life (Roszak traditional roles.It shouldnowinclude,on an equal
1969:222-23). Thus the anthropologist who insists footing, thosewho reflecttheinterests of thepeople
on theroleof"objective" observerina colonialsetting amongwhomtheywork,alongwiththosewhorepre-
greatlycompoundsan alreadyexistingrelationship sentthe government in power;insiders,in addition
of inequality.This situationengendersparticular to outsiders.
resentment in the nonwhiteintellectual, for simply An importantmethodological assumptionwillbe
to be selectedforstudyby the "scienceof savages" a multidimensional view of reality.The notionof
stampsone as unalterably distinctfromand inferior a singlevalid,objectiveknowledgemustbe replaced
to theEuropean(see Maquet 1964:51). withthatof a "perspectivistic knowledge,"a knowl-
"Objectivity" underthesecircumstances is consid- edge whichis partialand whichviewsrealityfrom
ered bymanynonwhite people an affront. However, the particularexistentialpositionoccupied by the
few anthropologists have writtenabout the infor- observer.This partialviewofrealityis notnonobjec-
mant'sreactionto being treatedas an "object"of tive;it onlybecomesso when it is acceptedas the
research.Levi-Strauss, whoseemsto understandthe total reality(Maquet 1964:54). The notion of a
relationshipbetweenthe anthropologist's abilityto perspectivistic knowledgewill enable the anthro-
be "objective" and theinevitabilityofdehumanization pologistto approach any cultureat any time with
under colonialism,alludes to the offensiveness of theassurancethatthepossibilities of understanding
being"ethnographized." He suggests(1966:125) that are infinite and closelylinkedwithhis situationand
the anthropologist permitthe tables to be turned purpose. If the situationand purpose are made
once in a while,thatthesubjectsbe allowedto study explicitand the data carefullycollected,the varied
theanthropologist so that"each in turnwillget the perspectives shouldbe complementary, althoughdif-
upper hand. And since therewillbe no permanent feringin focusand problem(Diamond 1964:433).
privilege,nobodywill have ground to feel inferior (Whileperspectivism wouldbe of obvioustheoretical
to anybodyelse." importanceto anthropology, because the anthro-
We haveseenthattheanthropologist as "objective" pologisthas in the past been alien to the culture
outsiderhas treatedthosestudiedas objectsand in studied,itis also of theoretical and pragmaticimpor-
the processcompletelyignoredthe relationshipof tance in the social sciences in general. Mills
power and privilegein which he and they were [1959:191] recognizedthiswhen he envisionedas
involved.This approach flourishedin a colonial an important role of socialscientists the offering of
systemwhichmade such treatment inevitable,and contrasting definitions of realitywhichwould serve
it contributedto the perpetuationof that system. as alternatives to theestablishment definition.)
It seemsincongruousthatthedisciplineshouldcon- Once it is acceptedthattheanthropologist, as out-
tinueto acceptuncritically the traditional approach sider,attainsonly one of severalpossibleperspec-
in a period whenthe conditionswhichgave rise to tiveson the group he studies,it mustbe realized
it are so rapidlychanging.For example, anthro- thatthisoutsideviewpointis not theonlyvalid one
pologistsstillpride themselves on the presentation and often not the most relevantone in a given
of an establishedviewof reality, alongwitha curious situation.The outsiderapproaches"objectivity" in
estrangement fromthatreality, as signsof thescien- his study of another group more closelythan a
tificnatureof theirwork.Mostanthropologists look memberof the group can; thisis because the lack
withdisdainon appliedwork;researchand activism ofcommoninterests and senseofcommitment which
stemmingfromexplicitinvolvement are considered membersof the group share permitshim to turn
inappropriatefor the anthropologist in his profes- thosehe studiesintoobjects.But whilehe is capable
sional role. Yet this attituderuns counterto the ofdetachment as an outsideobserver, he isstillsubject
realitiesof anthropology's past and to the current to the pull of his own group'sinterestsand claims
intellectualclimatewhichquestionsthe existenceof ofcommitment. Thus,theanthropologist, as outsider,
"disinterested" theory.If conditionsof the colonial is influenced bya different setof intereststhanthose
pastgaveriseto themethodological stancedescribed ofthepeoplehe studies,buthe isinfluenced nonethe-
above,whatdoes the presentsuggestas a basis for less.He mayremainunconsciousof theseinfluences
an alternateapproach? as long as he playsthe role of outsideobserverto
a strangegroup. It is much moredifficult forhim
to remainunawareof themwhenhe studieshisown
THE ANTHROPOLOGIST AS INSIDER group,wherethedetachment necessaryforobjectifi-
cationmaybe virtually impossibleto attain.
Whether anthropology continuestoexistas a separate The "portraits" of a group producedby the ob-
studyor mergeswithotherfields(see Mills1959:134), serveras outsiderand bytheobserveras insiderwill

586 CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY

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differ,as theyreflectdifferent interests,and they Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
willbe relevantin differentcontexts.This awareness
underliesthe currentcry,"You have to be one to and irrelevant.Thus, it is easier to reach white
understandone." Some viewthisinsistence thatonly studentswith the existingmaterial,for they are
an insidercan understand hisowngroupas a reaction alreadyon the outsideand are simplylookingfor
to scientificcolonialism(e.g., Galtung 1967:299). different understandings from their exterior
However,thisview is not based solelyon a desire perspective.They are the ones who "get a lot" out
to protectoneselfand one's group fromintellectual of sucha course.
exploitationand feelingsof inferiority. It is based Ethnicminoritiesnot onlyrejectbeingstudiedby
equallyon theconvictionthatan outsider'sviewof outsidersand readingbooksaboutthemselves written
one's groupcan be as biased,in itsown way,as that by outsiders,but find it intolerableany longer to
ofan insider,and on theassumptionthatan insider's be taughtaboutthemselves byoutsiders.Forexample,
viewcan be as valid,and as acceptableas anthro- whileblacks,amongthemselves, exhibita varietyof
pology,as thatof theoutsider. opinionsand impressions, suchdifferences generally
This attitudeis exemplifiedin thiscountryby the fallwithinthe perimeters of a commonexperience.
insistenceof ethnicminorities thattheybe included Sincean outsiderlackstheexperience,hisviewsmore
in the educational curriculumfrom their own oftenfall outsidethese perimeters, no matterhow
perspective,not solelythatof the outsider.For this sympathetic theattempt.Similar-
or well-intentioned
reason,theyfrequently findthematerial writtenabout ly,ina numberofeducationalprojectsinitiated within
thembyanthropologists and othersirrelevant. They theblackcommunity, Afro-Americans withadvanced
are aware that the studieswrittenabout themby educationaldegrees are barred as teachers,for it
anthropologists have been written not forthem,but is believedthatthe more exposed theyhave been
for othersof the anthropologist's own profession, bias,themoredecul-
scientific
to white,middle-class,
class,orculture.Veryoftenthesestudiesdo notreflect turalizedtheyhave become and thereforethe less
realityas the people studiedview it. Rather,they capable theyare of teachingeffectively about their
reflectrealityfroman outsideand differently com- traditional
and contemporary culturefromtheinside.
mittedperspective, one based on the class as well The argumentis not,as some would interpretit,
as professionalbiasesand interestsoftheinvestigator. thattheinsideviewis theonlyvalidone. Forexample,
A numberofexamplescometo mind.One involves the sociologistRobertMertonhas reportedlyques-
a person of NativeAmericanancestrywho agreed tionedthedoctrinethat"onlyblackscan understand
to teacha coursein anthropology at a newlyopened blacks,"notingthat"thereare certaintruthsthatcan
NativeAmericancommunity college.This individual onlybe learned froma stranger"(as quoted in the
had great difficulty findingsuitablesourcesabout San FranciscoExaminer,January6, 1970). He points
Native Americans which were meaningfulto them, out thatblack militants who supportthis doctrine
whichdid notoffera biased,depersonalizedoutside are ignoringthe perceptiveobservationsmade by
viewof theirown experience.It was equallydifficult Afro-Americans on the workingsof whitesociety.
to findrelevantintroductory anthropology textsto Obviously,the perspectivesof both outsiderand
useamonga peoplewhowerealreadypainfully aware insiderreveal"certaintruths,"and in any situation
of the basic principleof an introductory cultural the goal or purpose will dictate the appropriate
anthropology course:the existenceof different cul- perspective.3 Each perspective has itsadvantagesand
turalworldsand ofvariety and complexityin cultural disadvantages, bothintellectual and practical.
artifacts
such as language,kinship,dress,etc. The The obviousdisadvantageof studyinga group to
problemmightalso in some measurederive from whichyou belong is thatyour participation in the
thetaskof makinganthropology appealingto those groupoftenblindsyou to elementsthatare readily
whomanthropology hashelped(howeverunwittingly) apparentto theoutsider.The pressuresof everyday
to oppress. life,theemotionaland behavioraldemandson your
Anotherexampleis myown difficulty in finding energies,maymakeit impossibleto quicklyperceive
materialsuitablefora coursein Afro-American cul- alternatives or to adjudge thebestlong-term solution
ture.Blackstudents rejectmuchoftheworkbywhites to a problem.An outsidercan perceivethingsthat
as notcapturingthe"blackexperience,"thepersonal are so deeplyingrainedtheyescape the insider;he
elementof the culture.They chargethatmanyof can stand back and delineate alternativessimply
the books written,even by other Afro-Americans, because he is not involved.The veryinvolvement
are orientedtowardexplaining,in relativelyabstract oftheinsider, however, whichinsomeinstances blinds
terms,the Negro conditionto the outsiderin terms him,in other instancesmakes it possiblefor him
oftheoutsider'sinterests.
These booksrarelycapture
theexperienceof theinsider;theydo notstartwith in the classroom,for example,
an assumptionofthecommonbondofthecommitted, is 5An important consideration
the typeof studentenrolled;if the studentsare white,you
and thenadd to and buildupon that.The fewworks mightattemptto explain,and createempathyfor,blacklifeand
black studentsdo feel add to theirunderstanding culture; iftheenrollmentisblack,youwouldneedtoprobefurther
intoan experiencealreadyinternalized whichnowneedsexternal-
are usuallybooks that many whitestudentsfind izationand clearerdefinition. The difference is not unlikethat
confusingor vaguelyintimidating.
The booksconsid- betweena freshmanand seniorclass foranthropology majors.
ered informative and usefulby whitestudentsare If theclassis mixed,and moresophisticated, you mightgrapple
withtechniquesof cross-cultural communication betweeninsider
generallythose whichblack studentsfind obvious and outsider.

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to grasptheinnerworkings of thegroupto a degree of objectivity,is stillconsideredby manyto be the
thatis impossibleforthe outsider.More important, most acceptableapproach. Yet European ethnog-
theoutsider'slack of involvement maypose a grave raphers, in their criticalappraisal of American
threatto the group.This pointwas raisedabove in anthropology, challengetheassumptionthatthean-
the discussionof scientificcolonialism,but it must thropologist can studyonly other societies(Hofer
be reiteratedbecausea gooddeal ofthecontemporary 1968:312).Their workdemonstrates thepossibilities
distrustofanthropologistscan be understoodin these ofutilizingthetheoretical and methodological princi-
terms.There is a growingfearthatthe information ples of anthropologyin an analysisof one's own
collectedby an outsider,someone not constrained people.
bygroupvaluesand interests, willexpose the group Differencesin styleand emphasisbetweenEurope-
to outsidemanipulation and control.Thus, anthro- an insidersand Americanoutsiders,both of whom
pologistsandotheroutsideresearchers are considered have studiedEuropeanpeasantand postpeasantvil-
akin to intelligenceagents,even thoughtheyplay lages,have been likenedto the differencebetween
thatroleunwittingly.The insider,on theotherhand, humanistand naturalscientist (Hofer1968:314).For
is accountable;he mustremainin the community theoutsider,"objectivity," theory and theformulation
and take responsibilityfor his actions.Thus, he is of laws, is the primarygoal; for the insider,the
forcedthroughself-interest to exercisediscretion. discovery,definition,and celebrationof cultural
The same involvement and accountability makeit uniquenessis uppermost.The different perspectives
difficultfortheinsiderto ignoreproblemsperceived of nativeethnographer and outsideranthropologist
by the community as crucial.His worktendsto be have resultedin strikingly different of the
portraits
more pragmatically problem-oriented. Involvement European peasant. Americanstudieshave painted
spursone to action,to the utilization of one's skills a depressingpicture of societal breakdownand
for change. The outsider,who does not feel the underdevelopment, while ethnographershave fo-
pressurestowardrealization ofthegroup'sgoals,can cused on the dynamiccomplexity and richnessof
justify-onthebasisoftherighttoknow,thepriority indigenousculturalformsand processes.Obviously
of pure science,or culturalrelativism-hisinterest nativeethnographerand Americananthropologist
in exoticaand in the refinement of theoryand his have explored and highlighteddifferentfacetsof
disdainforthesolvingofimmediate humanproblems. European peasantlife,and thesedifferences reflect
the unique biases and expectationswhicheach has
broughtto the study.The ethnographers deplore
THE EUROPEAN NATIVE ETHNOGRAPHER: what they consider the single-mindedfocus, the
A PARTIAL MODEL emphasison backwardness, of the Americanstudies
(Hofer 1968:315). They resentthe fact that the
Americananthropology, especiallyunder the influ- outsider,"peoplesand culturesare onlylimitedcases
ence of Boas, has not ignoredthe importanceof and argumentsin his search for laws" (Hofer
theinsider'sviewof a culture(see Rohner1969 and 1968:314).Their attitudeis notunlikethatof Third
workssuch as Radin 1920 and Lurie 1961). Insider World peoples,whichhas resultedin distrustand
anthropology hasbeen peripheraltooutsideranthro- thebarringof anthropologists fromnewnationsand
pology,however,and has focusedon trainingnon- fromminority communities in theUnitedStates.
Westerners to studytheirown cultures(e.g., Koent- Europeanethnography beganwiththeemergence
jaraningrat1964,Uchendu1965).It hasrarelyturned in the 19thcenturyof new nationalcultures.It was
the Americananthropologist inwardwithinhis own a responseto the need fora new identityand new
culture.I feel,along witha numberof otherThird consciousness and, as such,was an integral"partof
Worldanthropologists, thatthe timehas come for the revitalizationmovement"(Hofer 1968:312).
the studyof culturefromthe inside,bythe insider, IndependentThird World nationsand ethnicmi-
as a dominantapproachin thediscipline. noritiesin theUnitedStatesnowfacesimilarcircum-
Thereis,forbothThirdWorldand Euro-American stances.Like the European nationsof an earlier
anthropologists,something tobe learnedinthiseffort period,theyare struggling to asserta new concept
fromtheEuropeannativeethnographer. It has been of selfand of nationalor ethnicculture.
suggestedthatAmericanfieldworkers, unliketheir Oncea peopleperceivesthepossibility ofliberation,
Europeancounterparts, have commonlyfocusedon in referenceto a formerexperienceof subjugation,
simplerpeoplesand havepaid onlypassingattention it is imperative thatthe rightto observeand define
to complexsocieties(Hultkrantz1968:293,295). It theirculture be theirsalone. Understoodin the
is onlyrelativelyrecently,
withthegrowingfearthat contextof theanthropologist's roleas colonizer,this
the disciplinewill disappearwiththe extinctionof right,as Levi-Strauss (1966:125) notes,is of primary
simplersocieties,thatAmericananthropologists have symbolic importance. Memmi(1969:181) summarizes
turnedto the studyof complexsocieties.(For two cogentlythe significance of self-definition
and self-
recentsurveysof these studies,see Hsu 1969 and study:"For theoppressedto be finallyfree,he must
Kushner1970.)Few,however,haveassumedtherole go beyondrevolt,by anotherpath, he mustbegin
ofinsideobserveroftheirowncultures.(Somerecent in otherways,conceiveof himselfand reconstruct
notable examples are Clark and Anderson 1967, himselfindependently of themaster."
Schneider1968, Oswalt1970.) The studyof culture Yet, as we have seen, insideranthropology, for
fromtheoutside,a positionthoughttoassurea degree manyThird World anthropologists, can never be

588 C U R R E N T A N T H RO PO LO G Y

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purelycelebrativeor purelytheoretical, for "there Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
is a feelingof urgencyin connectionwithnational
problems, a feelingthatscarceresourcesforresearch and involveddiscipline,one that produces social
shouldbe allocatedto studiesthatcouldfostersocio- scientistscommittedto radical change (see Moore
economicdevelopment"(Galtung1967:309). Thus, 1971,whouses theterm"partisan"anthropology).
the cry foran anthropology relevantto the needs A distinctionshouldbe made betweenactivistand
and interests of Third Worldpeople is fora disci- conventional appliedanthropology. ForThirdWorld
plinethatwilllead notonlyto self-discovery,butalso anthropologists,thetraditionaldivisionbetweenpure
to the pragmaticsolutionof pressinghumanprob- and applied anthropologyis overshadowedby the
lems. factthatmanyappliedanthropologists wereand are
This is not to deny the validityof the outsider's amongthosemostobviouslyinvolvedin theperpetu-
perspective or itsimportanceto the developmentof ationofcolonialand neocolonialsystems. (See Foster
theoryand models for change. The issue here is 1969:177,194-96,fora description of theattackon
thattheformerly colonizedwillnowexercisetheright Nadel in the 1940sand the growingdisillusionment
to studytheirown culture,as well as to establish of Britishanthropologists withappliedanthropology
the termsunder whichoutsiderswill be permitted forthisreason.)This involvement, more thanany-
to do so.4 thingelse, probablyaccountsfor what has been
termedapplied anthropology's great failure,"the
inabilityto producea soundtheoryofsocialchange"
ACTIVIST ANTHROPOLOGY (Cochrane1971:111). There seemsto be an unalter-
able contradition betweenan anthropologyrooted
While there is no assurance that a Third World in academiaand an appliedanthropology committed
anthropologistworkingwithhis own people willbe to development and change(Cochrane1971).
nonexploitativeor have a deeper sense of commit- From this viewpoint,insider anthropologyem-
mentto hisowngroupthanan outsider,therewould ployedbythedevelopingnationsto further indepen-
probablybe a markedtendencyin that direction. dentlydefinedgoalsis in keepingwiththe historical
This is true both because of the greaterpressures role of anthropology in the West.There seems to
thatcan be broughtby a group
for accountability be littlepragmaticdifferencebetweenthe trained
on one of its own and because of the nonwhite Third Worldinvestigator, whosestudiesof his own
anthropologist'sown self-identificationas a member cultureare chosen to furtherthe interestsof his
of an oppressed group. Given these factors,the people forgreaterself-awareness as wellas thesolu-
developmentof an insiderperspectiveshould lead tionofimmediate practicalproblems, and theWestern
to a differentorderingof prioritiesin anthropology. anthropologist, whose preoccupationwith abstract
Thus, a shiftfroman emphasison theory,at the theoriesin thepastwas a responseto Westernman's
expenseof development, to a focuson theorydevel- search for self-understanding and the pursuitof
opingoutofthesolutionof practicalproblemsseems empirebuilding.In the one instance,the goals and
a radicalchange in the way in
inevitable.Similarly, interestswillbe explicit.In theother,theygenerally
whichproblemsare selectedand formulated should werenot.
occurso thatthepeoplethemselves assumean impor-
tantrole in determining problemsto be studiedin
termsof theirown interests as theyperceivethem. INSIDER ANTHROPOLOGY FOR THIRD
(See Caulfield1972:7-8and Stavenhagen1971:337- WORLD AND WESTERN ANTHROPOLOGISTS
39 for suggestionsabout specifictypesof roles an-
thropologists can play in such situations.)Group Justas theexistential situationofwhiteand nonwhite
involvement in problemformulation helpsassurethat anthropologists differs,so initiallywillthe implica-
theanthropologist willstandin an equalitarianrather tionsof insideranthropologyfor theirwork.It is
thana privilegedrelationship tothepeoplehe studies. possibleto offerjusta fewsuggestions here.
(See Jones1971a:348-49fora ThirdWorldviewpoint Euro-Americananthropologists who turn their
on the elitismwhichis characteristic of manyliberal methodsand insightsto an analysisof theirown
and radicalappliedanthropologists at present.)These societymayfindmuch-neededanswersto some of
considerations bringus to a crucialpoint.If anthro- the ethicaland methodological questionscurrently
pologyis to meet the real needs and interestsof discussedin thediscipline.The anthropologist who
the people studied ratherthan the personal and is forcedto studyhis own culturewillfindit more
professional interests
of thedisciplineand itspracti- difficultto objectifyand dehumanizehisownpeople.
tioners,it muston some levelbe an explicitly activist It is not as easy in the contextof one's own society
to maintainthat a "professional"is exempt from
4 Some of the newlyindependent Africancountrieshave clearly valuesand has no responsibility forthe solutionof
defined these conditions. For example, research proposals must pressingproblems.It would take a highlyunre-
be submitted to the host government for approval; approval is sponsiveresearcher tocontinuetofocuson long-range
contingenton the prioritygiven problems dealing with develop-
ment; once accepted, the investigatoris usually bound to fulfill theoretical problemswhenhe is forcedto consider,
certain professionalcommitmentsto the host country'sacademic as bothsocialscientist and citizen,thathisown world
community;etc. Similar conditions will probably be established
for American anthropologistsworkingin ethnic enclaves in their seemsto be fallingapartaround him.He could no
own country. longerjustifya lack of commitment whilederiving

Vol.14 * No. 5 December


1973 589

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professional benefits fromhisresearchamongpeople shouldalso facilitate acceptanceof perspectivism as
whoare in a positionto makeenforceabledemands a criticalmethodological assumptionand of activism
on hissenseof responsibility tothem.The experience as a valid social scientificgoal throughofferinga
of workingwithinone's own culturemightrender legitimationof contrasting viewsof realityand ends
obsoletethe problemof whetherthe anthropologist of research.It should lead to an understanding of
has the rightto imposehis valueson someoneelse. the limitsand dangers,as well as the possibilities,
Instead,the crucialquestionmight.wellbe "How of "objectivity,"
and it shouldsharpenawarenessof
can anthropology be used forexplicitlyhumanistic personaland groupinterests and theirinfluenceon
ratherthanimplicitly oppressiveends?" theoryand action. Finally,a disciplinedeveloping
Anthropologists whostudytheirown societieswill outofsuchvariedinterests shouldhelpcreatecondi-
also add immeasurably to theirtheoreticalunder- tionsfora thoroughgoing and realistic
understanding
standingofmankind.It has been suggestedthatlack of processesof culturechange.
of fieldworkin the anthropologist's own societyis
a measure of the anthropologist's "disassociation"
fromhisowncultureand has probablyled to distor-
tionin his abilitiesto graspanotherculture(Braroe CONCLUSION
and Hicks1967:186).The Americananthropologist's
researchintohisown culturewould,ideally,correct Colonialismstructured the relationshipbetweenan-
the situationreferredto by Hofer (1968:312): "It thropologistsand non-Western peoples in the past.
is almostsymbolicthatin the Smithsonian Institute, Fieldworkers conductedtheirstudiesas a formof
collectionsfromall human culturesare housed in one of manytheyexercisedthroughmem-
privilege,
the Museumof NaturalHistorywiththe exception bershipin the dominantgroup. Their work was
of the cultureof the'WhiteMan in America'which pursued in the interestof the colonizersin terms
is displayedin the Museumof Historyand Technol- of the conceptsand theoriestheydevelopedas well
ogy."We do not knowto whatextentthe anthro- as therolestheyplayed.
pologist'slackof understanding of,and involvement The traditionalanthropologist's syndrome, defined
in, his own culturehas affectedthe developmentof by the roles of colonizer,outsider,and "objective"
theoryand methodin thediscipline,butit mayturn observer,was adaptiveto an era now fading.The
out thatthissocial ignorancehas seriouslyskewed era of Westerncolonizationand whitesupremacy
perspective on othercultures. is currently beingchallengedby revolutionary wars
For Third World anthropologists, it is obviously of liberationand revolutionary modes of thinking.
crucial,as noted above, to redefinethe traditional The peoplesof Asia,Africa,and LatinAmericaand
view of themselvespresentedto themby Western theethnicminorities in NorthAmericaare currently
scholars.This is necessaryin order to identifythe questioningtheintegrity of theanthropologist, forc-
internalstrengths and positivefactors, as wellas the ing him to look critically at himselfand reconsider
weaknesses(see Murray1971,Barbour1970),so that someofhisassumptions. The questionsmaybe posed:
the resourcesneeded for far-reaching change can Is anthropology a trulyuniversaldiscipline?Can it
be effectively mobilized.Secondly,sincemuchof the be utilizedforexplicitself-study and self-knowledge
"objectivity"and antihumanism of the paststemmed by all peoples? Is it able to meet the challengeof
fromthe Westernanthropologist's unwillingness or oppressedpeople who seek solutionsto theirprob-
inabilityto considertheallocationof powerand how lems?Or is it usefulonlyin providinginformation
this affectedthe lives of the people studied,it is about powerlesspeoples to thosein power?Is it to
essentialthat Third World anthropologists have a remainan adjunctto Westernexploitation and ma-
clearunderstanding oftherelationship betweentheir nipulationof Third Worldpeoples?
ownpeopleand thosewithpowerwhoimpingeupon If anthropology is to adapt to the realitiesof the
them. It is not only unrealisticfor Third World modernworld,it willbe necessaryto approachthe
anthropologists to treattheirown groupsin isolation studyofall menthrougha multiplicity ofperspectives
as did Westernanthropologists in the past,but also as these are influencedby differentinterestsand
exceedinglydangerous.Obviously,as noted above, needs.The viewsof bothinsiderand outsidermust
thesame anthropologist can functionas bothinsider be acceptedas legitimate attempts to understandthe
and outsiderin different situationsand in termsof natureof culture.
different problems,or Third Worldand otheran- A view of man broadened by a perspectivistic
thropologists can collaborateon insiderunderstand- knowledge mustbe definedbycommitment tochange
ingof interlocking socialsystems,wherethisis feasi- and the solutionof practicalproblems.As such it
ble.5 wouldexposethoseanthropologists whouse objectiv-
Developmentof a methodology wherebyinsiders ityand culturalrelativism as a shieldforself-interest
studytheirown culture,whetherEuro-American or and moralparalysis, and inhibitthosewho focuson
ThirdWorld,shouldhelpbringaboutthe"decoloni- theoryat theexpenseof people and theirreal prob-
zation"of the social sciencesnow being urged by lems.The newlydeveloped"primitives," who were
radicalsocial scientists(e.g., Stavenhagen1971). It formerly fairgame, are advisingthe anthropologist
thathe now has an obligationto themas well as
tohisdiscipline,
and thattheformer musttakepriority.
'I am indebted to Charles Valentine (personal communication, Soon, thiswill be the only conditionunder which
1971) fnr hrinoinc this nnAint
tn mv attpntionn fieldwork willbe permitted.
590 C U R R E N T A N T H RO PO LOG Y

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The positiontaken here is that anthropology, Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
because of its unfortunate colonialisthistory,
has a
seriousresponsibilityto itsformersubjects.Its core exploitationof subjectmattercan be viewedas an
of knowledgeand insight,builtout of exploitation academicmanifestation of colonialism.Some of the
ofnonwhite and non-Western peoples,can no longerbiasesinherentin thisroleare examined.
remainthesole preserveof theWest.Anthropology, Withtheliberationof formerly colonizedpeoples,
along with other social sciences,must develop a the traditionalrole of the anthropologist has been
rationalewhichoperates,in theoryand in fact,in undermined. Thishas resultedinan impassebetween
theinterestsof all peoples. anthropologistsand manyofthepeopletheyformerly
studied.The postcolonialera clearlycalls for new
Abstract rolesforanthropologists
methodologies
and a morerelevantset of
and concepts.In the search for al-
Anthropology emergedfromthecolonialexpansion ternatives, consideration isgiventothe"nativeethnog-
of Europe. Colonialismstructuredthe relationship raphy"of Europe and the insightsspringingfrom
betweenanthropologists and thepeopletheystudied currenteducationalinnovations amongThirdWorld
and had an effecton methodological and conceptual people in the United States. In this context,the
formulations in thediscipline.For example,therole advantagesof a "nativeanthropology" are examined
of "objectiveoutsider"withitsresultantprofessional as one possiblealternative.

Comments by huge field projects such as those heritage.They willrathertryto imitate


in Chiapas or Vicos.) Not long ago, the ways of the dominant groups.
I suggested to a representativeof a Under these conditions,inside anthro-
byXAVIER ALBO strong American foundation that pology has to be somehow stimulated
La Paz, Bolivia. 10 v 73 translatingforeign research into the fromoutside. But even then,the start-
Besides the factorsalready mentioned language of the countrystudied would ing point mustbe related to the actual
by Lewis, another possible reason for be a good and nonimperialisticservice expectations and needs of the ethnic
the lack of awareness of colonialism to thatcountry.Apparentlythisis not group.
among many anthropologists comes feasible,perhaps because underneath For all these reasons I endorse the
from their methodological insistence the scientificcolonialism there is an suggestion of a perspectivisticinside
on smallcommunitiesas self-contained economic colonialism which is still approach to anthropology.The posi-
entities.In recent years many authors harder to break. The result is one- tivisticclaim of complete outside ob-
have broadened their perspective,but sided research which is not acknowl- jectiveness has been challenged, with
thisnarrownessis stillcommon. By the edged as such and which cannot be good reason, in all the social sciences
same token,manyfail to see that what challenged fromthe inside perspective (see, forinstance,Carr 1961). We must
theycall "cultures"are in fact merely because it is simplyunavailable. Since give credit to the former objective
deculturizedsubculturesoppressed by the main goal of many outsiders is approach for the refinementit has
and hence dependent upon other, "theorybuilding and career advance-. pushed in the sciences which claim to
usually Western,groups and cultures ment," few anthropologistsare really interpretsociety. This is a goal and
(see Ribeiro 1970). Conversely, this bothered by the lack of confrontation a methodwhichmustnot be forgotten.
insistence on the small community withlocal people and theirreal prob- Yet, if we cannot be 100% objective,
might be an indirect concession to lems. being aware of our concretecondition-
colonial or neocolonial rule: in this At least in Latin America, local re- ings we become more objective; un-
microperspective,it is not necessaryto searchers are often tied to the same aware of them, we are blind victims
come to gripswiththe riskyyetcrucial sort of research colonialism. Many of of our own subjectivism.Lewis sug-
topic of colonialism. our ethnicgroups are eitherminorities gests also the need for an activistan-
I must also stress with Lewis that or oppressed majoritieswithina given thropology "committed to radical
the primary commitmentof anthro- state. Most of themstilllack conscious change." I agree. But thisimplies that
pologiststo their"academic communi- inside-elitessuch as those emerging the researcher has a given ideology
ty"is a potentialsource of colonialism among the Euro-American ethnic which must be made explicit. If he is
if not of bias. From the viewpoint of minoritiesor in the new Africanstates. committedto change, he has to explain
the people studied, this means that These groups are thereforestudied by what his conception of change looks
"those foreignerscome to study us as outsiders,including local people who like and why. Then anthropological
ifwe wereinsects,buttheydo not really belong to dominant groups and tend theorybecomes praxis.Giventhesocial
care about us." That is, the ethnologist to have the perspectiveof such groups. condition of most groups studied by
may look like an entomologist.In the These local researchers may be very anthropologists,the mostcreativeacti-
eyes of these people-or the more sensitiveto colonial aggression from vistanthropologywillprobablyemerge
aware among them-the complaint of foreignscientistsand at the same time when the perspective is that which
some anthropologistsagainst ethno- mayhave, probablyunconsciously,the Wachtel(1971; cf. Leon-Portilla1959)
cide may look like fear of not having perspectiveof the internalcolonialist. calls "la vision des vaincus."
any more odd insects to study,rather In a situation like this, a real inside
than real concern. From the viewpoint anthropology is more difficult.The byGERALD BERTHOUD
of the local researcher,thismeans that lower the prestige of a given culture Montreal,Canada. 10 v 73
most research is not locally available (or subculture) within the state- One of the qualities of Lewis's paper
or even translatedinto the main local country,the more difficultit is to find is to be provocative. Any anthro-
languages. (Think of the data gathered individuals willingto study their own pologist,whatevei his theoreticaland
Vol.14 No. 5 1973
December 591

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positions,
ideological-political mustbe oppositioncannotaccountfortheeth- e.g., Beattie(1971:chaps.4 and 10),
concerned.Givenlimitedspace,I will nic complexityof this continent. Crowder and Ikime (1970), and
simplyinsiston whatI regardas an Moreover, insideranthropologists, like Turner(1971). Furtherreferences on
important shortcoming of thispaper. outsiders,are membersof societies anthropologists and applied anthro-
Lewisis rightin diagnosinga state whichare moreand morediversified pologymay be found in Brokensha
of crisisin anthropology. Mostoften, and thus marked by increasingin- (1966), Firth(1947),and Mair(1960).
however, shedoes notgo beyondthis; equality.Whatmaybe moreimportant Anthropologists did not turn away
the essentialunderlyingcauses are than a simplistic"insider-outsider" fromthe factsof colonialism:indeed
neglected, ifnotignored.Thus,meth- dichotomy arethepolitical,ideological, it is ironicthatsuchfrankand critical
odologyand theory are predominandy and socialpositions ofanthropologists. studiesofadministration wouldnotbe
viewedby Lewisas a passiveresultof Advocating that anthropologists tolerated in many contemporary
economicand politicalconditions.I work"in the interests of all peoples" independentnationsthat succeeded
would,rather,postulatethata critical by refusingto exploitnonwhiteand thecolonialterritories.
anthropology mustbe basedon a theo- non-Western peoples is an idealistic Manywell-known monographs con-
radicalism.
retical viewwhichdoes notcorrespondto the tainonlypassingreferences tocolonial
Lewis'spaper is a good productof actualcollusionbetweenthedominant rule.This is notsurprising whenone
a developingmovement in theUnited classes of peripheralcountriesand considersthatanthropologists concen-
States,amonganthropologists keenly highlydevelopedcapitalistcentersat trated-forreasonsthatat the time
conscious of their social responsi- theexpenseof thelaborersand peas- seemed compelling,and stillappear
whichcould be termeda hu-
bilities, ants of Africa,Latin America,and validto me-on themoreremotere-
manistic orethicalapproach.However, elsewhere.How are we to understand gions,wherecolonialrulewasgeneral-
humanism, tobe ofsomeimpact,must thiskindofinternalcolonialism? Why lyintermittent and weak.Whetherthe
be linkedwiththeorywithina dialecti- shouldan "insider"elitebe so disdain- studies were made for romantic
cal whole. By raisingsuch relevant fulof thedominatedso-calledpagan, escapism or salvage anthropology,
questionsas the so-calledobjectivity ruralpeople? moststudiesof kinship,witchcraft, or
and neutrality of observersas out- Ethicsand humanismare no more village agriculturedid not need to
siders,Lewisexpressessomeofthemain thanvalue judgmentsunlesstheyare stresscolonialism. I knowfrommyown
problemsin theproduction ofanthro- articulatedwitha sound theoretical experiencein East,Central,and West
pologicalknowledge, but does not ex- domainwhoseobjectiveis precisely to Africathatsomeareas wererelatively
plainthem. warnresearchers, insideror outsider, littleaffectedby colonialrule, while
For instance,the Piagetianopposi- of theinsidiousattraction of ideology, others sufferedtraumaticchanges.
tionbetween"objectivity" and "real- whichgivesa distortedknowledgeof Colonialismwas not a uniformand
ism" seems to me more usefulthan anypresentsocialsituation (i.e.,impe- monolithic process.
theviewthat"objectivity" tendstoturn rialism, neocolonialism,"underde- 2. "Peoplehave a rightto statethe
people intoobjects(Piaget,quotedin velopment," poverty,etc.). termson whichtheywillbe studied."
Battro1966:122,translation mine):' (I shallignoreLewis'smore extreme
Objectivityconsistsin knowingso wellthe suggestionthat"the rightto observe
whichderivefromit- byDAVID BROKENSHA and define their culture be theirs
thousandintrusions
illusionsof thesenses,language,pointsof Santa Barbara,Calif., U.S.A. 10 v 73 alone.").The problemhere is who is
view,values,etc.-that,to be allowedto Lewisweakensher case by attacking to determinethese terms,especially
judge, one startsto get free from the toomanytargets: shedealswithseveral when Lewis explicitlyadvocatesac-
obstaclesof oneself.Realism,on the con- important dilemmasin contemporary tivism.Whathappenswhenthereare
trary,consistsin ignoringtheexistenceof anthropology, but obscuresthe real competing factions, or whena change
oneselfand, consequently, in takingone's dangersby her scatterguntactics.I of government seems the only hope
own view for immediately objectiveand
absolute.
single out some major themes for forchange?To whomdoes the an-
comment. thropologist turnfordirections?
The "objectivity" describedby Lewis 1. Is it true that "[the anthro- 3. Lewisrighdy stressestheneedfor
resultspreciselyfroman illusory certi- pologist]rarelyquestionedor studied insider-outsidercooperation. For
tude and serves,consciouslyor not, theprocessofconfrontation"? Despite manyyearsI have workedcloselyin
as a "scientific"justificationof the the widelyheld belief that anthro- thefieldwithAfricanhigh-school and
politicaland ideologicalstatusquo. pologistsignoredcolonialism, specific university students,as well as with
A lackofepistemological knowledge examplesintroducesome questions. Africanscholars:for example,I re-
leads Lewisto variousidealisticstate- Fortesand Evans-Pritchard (1940:15) cently editeda bookwithcontributions
ments.There is a certainnaivetyin say: "[These societies]would not ac- fromnineGhanaianand nineexpatri-
believing thatthesimplechangefrom quiesce in [European rule] if the ate scholars(Brokensha1972). Coop-
outsiderto insiderwillmake all the threatof forcewerewithdrawn." And erationcan concentrateon peaceful
difference. How,forexample,are we nearlyall the contributors to their scholarlytasks,althougha man of
to discriminaterigorouslybetween book,in analysingtraditional African conscience willinadditionfindhimself
"inside"and "outside"in an African politicalsystems,deal explicitlywith involvedin coundess"real-life" situa-
context? The mere black-white effectsof colonial rule (pp. 46-53, tionswithhis hosts-and thosesitua-
65-68, 112-20, 162, 180-81, 240). tionscan, and should,continuelong
Busia(1951),Fallers(1956),Gluckman afterthefieldwork is over.
"'L'objectivite
consiste 'asibienconnaftre (1958), Richards(1960), and Wilson 4. Colonialism did notabruptly stop
les milleintrusionsqui en d&ivent-illu- (1936) haveall examined,in consider- at national independence.Colonial
sionsdes sens,du langage,des pointsde
vue, des valeurs,etc.-que pour se per- abledetailand in forthright terms,the attitudes unfortunately oftenpersistin
mettrede juger, l'on commencepar se effects of colonialruleon chieftaincy. Third World leaders and students,
degagerdes entravesdu moi.Le realisme, While these books were published manyof whomdisplaya depressing
au contraire,consistea ignorer1'existence during the colonial period, other elitism;insidersare not necessarily
du moi,et,deslors,aprendrela perspective
proprepour immediatement objective,et important booksdealingwiththesame moreconcernedaboutthewelfareof
topichaveappearedin recentyears& the people thanare outsiders.Surely
592 C U R R E N T A N T H R O P O L OG Y

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we mustrecognize,in thesesortsof Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
discussions, that, where anthro-
pologistsare rejected,it is not sim- pologistson termsacceptableto both insidersor outsiders.(This bringsup
plybecause,of hostilityand suspicion parties.Althoughall of us are less an issue Lewisbarelymentions:class
arising from their colonial role. optimisticand more beset by doubts constraints.Comprador intellectualsof
Manynationsexcludeanthropologists thanwe werea decade ago, I believe theThirdWorldare hardlylesslikely
through fearofaccuratesocialanalyses withKoentjaraningrat (1964:295)that
to be racism-free or anticolonial,espe-
ofthenewsortsofdiscrimination and "despite its original Euro-Americanciallywithregardto internalcolonial-
the wideninggulfbetweenrulerand bias, . . . anthropology [is] the most ism,thanoutsiders.)
ruled.Whilewe can, fortunately, still suitableof all the social sciencesfor Lewis'scommentsare appropriate,
practiceour craftin manycountries, providing thebasicscientificdiscipline but it is hard for me to accept that
we shouldnot ignorethe widespread forstudying socialprocessesin thenew any anthropology is possiblein our
instanceswherearbitrary and oppres- Asianand Africancountries." presentclimateof unfreeand uncriti-
sive governmentsmanipulate in- cal inquiry,in an upside-downworld
formation fortheirown purposes. where the majorityof peoples-the
Finally,I draw attentionto Firth's byRICHARD FRUCHT raison d'etre of anthropology-are
(1972:26-27) statement that"anthro- Edmonton, Canada.18 v 73 dominated bythefewthroughimperi-
pologyis notthebastardofcolonialism Thispaperisthelatestina recentspate alism,political, economic, and cultural.
but the legitimateoffspringof the ofanthropological occa-
self-criticisms
Enlightenment." Firthsuggeststhat sioned by the anticapitalist and an-
"despitetheirfailings,social anthro- tiimperialist sentiments and activities byHELMUTH FUCHS
pologistshave on the whole been at that have finallyreached our disci- Toronto,Canada. 16 iv 73
leastas competentand perceptiveas pline.Of all thedisciplines whichdeal Froman idealistic pointofviewLewis's
factoryinspectors" [fromwhom"Marx withhumankind, anthropology seems articleis a magnificent pieceof work.
drewso heavilyforhisgeneralizations tobe caughtinan unresolvable contra- It invokes"therealities of themodern
on the capitalistsystem"]-"andper- diction.The traditional ethnographic world,"yetitdoes notbringtheminto
hapshaveworkedharderand suffered basis is being challenged from within theopen. Two opposingsetsof terms
more." and without.The subjects of ethnog- are used to depictthecovertpolitical
raphy resistbecoming objectifiedand realityof anthropology and colonial-
encapsulated, and increasingly stu- ism.On theone side,thereare United
byEDWARD M. BRUNER dents and teachers alike are reconsid- States,West,Europe,America,colon-
Urbana,Ill., U.S.A. 18 iv 73 ering the traditionalroles of the disci- izer, developed, white, and Euro-
Unless we trainmore Third World pline. Lewis proposes a solutionto this American.On theotherside,thereare
anthropologiststo study in Third contradiction: perspectivistic knowl- ThirdWorld,non-Western, black,un-
Worldcountries, we shallneverhave edge. This is, however,only a partial derdeveloped,Africa,poverty, primi-
the opportunity to testLewis'sideas. solution,and not the firststep towards tive,ethnicminorities in the United
In Indonesia,for example,a nation a resolutionof our dilemma. Given the States, colonized, Asia, and Latin
of 120 millionpeople, formingap- colonialand imperialconditions under America.ConceptslikeEast,rich,cor-
proximately300 differentethnolin- which anthropology developed and rupt,empireare keptout of the dis-
guisticgroups,therewasuntiltheearly continues to exist today, anthro- cussion.
1970s onlyone IndonesianPh.D. in pologistswillbe caught not only in the Today nobody is misled by geo-
anthropology. The situationis slowly contradiction of insider versus out- graphical,developmental, and racial
beingcorrected,as a second anthro- sider, but in the graver conflict be- terms,sincemostnewspaper-reading
pologisthas returnedto Indonesia tweenexploitedand exploiter.Is it anthropologistsknow the political
afterreceiving hisdoctorate in Austra- reallytruethatthegreatestcontribu- realities very well. The acknowl-
lia,a thirdhas justpassedhisprelimi- tion of our discipline to science is the edgementsof any hundred anthro-
nary examinationsat Illinois, and corpus of ethnography,or is it time pologydissertations showclearlyfrom
othersare in variousstagesof training. we begantoquestiontheintegrity and whichof thetwosetsthefinancial and
The Euro-American anthropologist validity ofethnographies done outside humanresourcesof anthropology are
is beginningto recognizethecolonial the contextof dominationand ex- comingand where the benefitsare
contextwithinwhichhe has operated ploitation?The problemsLewis and going.It is thenonlya smallstep to
in the past,he acknowledges the ex- othersrecognizewillperhapsonlybe findoutwheresupporting foundations
ploitivenatureof his relationship to overcomein a world devoid of the investtheirmoniesin orderto provide
his informants, and he realizes the inequalitiesof power, production,and for research.Further,it is easy to
implicitracismand theinvidiouscom- consumption thatexisttodayas part discoverhow high financegenerates
parisoninvolvedin such distinctions of thesystem imperialism. thewealthwhichsuppliesthefounda-
ofcapitalist
as primitive-civilizedand traditional- Committed anthropologists,radical tions.Thisis thegrowth-ridden system
modern.Whatto do? He can retreat anthropologists-whatever one wants in whichsomeanthropologists are left
to the studyof his own culture,and to call them-take as a firsttaskthe withthe bitteraftertasteof having
the difficultiesof obtainingfunding dismantlingof racist mythsand the eitherhelpedto betraynativepeoples'
foroverseasresearchmayforcemany exposure of colonial and imperialist noo-systems or, byrefusingto do so,
to do so. Anotheralternativeis to relations,a task which is both a study terribly disappointedtheir own ad-
continueto trainThirdWorldanthro- of other societiesand necessarilya ministration (Fuchs1972a). It is there-
pologists,but to do so creatively, by studyof our own. In these instances, forenotsurprising thatthosepeoples
involving himselfand his studentsin insiders and. outsiders seem to have who,despitethe anthropologist's im-
cooperative investigationsof problems moreincommonwitheachother-and mense financialresources(as com-
relevantto theThirdWorldcountries hereis wherea perspectivistic knowl- pared to theirs), offer hospitality
themselves.The Euro-Americanan- edge can be truly rewarding-than and information willsooneror later
thropologist can, in myopinion,work withthosewhoseekto treadthetradi- be induced to pay in one formor
jointly with Third World anthro- tionalpathsof anthropology, whether anotherthe entirecost of both the
Vol.14 No. 5 December
1973 593

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researchprojectand itsconsequences thropologists.
Otherwise, theresultsof theheightof reification.
(Fuchs 1972b). But, what is an aca- the researchmaybe restricted to his- As Lewisseemsto suggest,one may
demicexpectedto do, if he depends toricalstudies,etc.,foranthropology be an observer,or a participantob-
on a systemin whichthesame group musthaveitsfirmbasisin comparative server,and neverbecomean activist.
of personssitssimultaneously on the method.Maybethisis also one of the I don'tdoubtthatone mighteven be
boards of banks, communication reasonsthatanthropology so far has an activist,but in causes other than
media, corporations,churches,uni- been mainly the domain of the thoseLewiswouldespouse,and there-
researchfoundations,
versities, and in "whites,"who in their studiesof a forebe ruledoutofthetrade.Similar-
government? particularcountrymayasserttheirown ly,I wouldargue,adoptingMaquet's
Lewis's conclusion that "anthro- ambitions,defend colonialismand "perspectivisticknowledge"position
pology, along with other social racism,and sometimeseven uncon- does notguaranteethatone's activity,
sciences,must develop a rationale sciouslyserve tendenciestheythem- as insideror outsider,wouldbe satis-
whichoperates,in theoryand in fact, selvesdeny. factoryto Lewis. And I'm not con-
in theinterests of all peoples"sounds The processofacquiringknowledge vincedthatbeingan insidernecessarily
like politicalhogwash.It is as futile aboutmanis amongthemostcomplex meansthatone becomesaccountable
as committeeson ethics in anthro- and mostcomplicatedof humanen- tothecommunity orthatoneis thereby
pologyor ethicsin acquisitions of col- deavours;therefore it is necessaryto "forcedthroughself-interest to exer-
lections,whichfunctiononly within takeinto accountthe factthatthere cisediscretion,"or thatone automati-
and forthesystem in whichtheyorig- will be, on the one hand, anthro- callybecomesmoreinsightful thanan
inated.Would Lewis have been able pologistswho will make of colonial outsider,or thatone's workbecomes
topublishthisarticleotherwise? Would researchonlya profit-making business "more pragmatically problem-orient-
I, otherwise, have been in a position and, on theotherhand,thosewho in ed." Thereisa vastdifference between
to writethiscomment? theirromanticapproachpaytoo little ideologicaladherence to these and
If thereis anyrealconflictbetween attentionto negativefeaturesof the other principlesor perspectives and
anthropology and the systemwhich areainvestigated.Eventhoseofus who therealactivitiesofindividualanthro-
allowsittothrive, thesolutionwillhave studythecultureofour owncountries pologists.One must still,I suspect,
to come fromoutside of both, and have had to go througha period of becomean activist insiderof a certain
neitherof themwillfinditacceptable. romanticglorification. We can com- persuasionto satisfyLewis.
parethissituationto thehistorical de- The history ofmanis unfortunately
velopmentof thinkingin Europe: repletewithsituationsinwhichinsiders
byJITKA JUNKOVA afterthe criticalattitudeof the En- objectifiedand dehumanized their
Prague,Czechoslovakia. 19 vi 73 lightenment towardspopularcultures, "own peoples"and in whichinsiders
The problem of anthropologyor Romanticism began to glorifysome and outsidershave been quickto de-
*ethnography (in my view) is much thatwerenotalwaysveryvaluable. fine "explicitlyhumanistic. . . ends"
wider than mentionedby the au- for others; ends over which these
thoress;it does not merelyconcern othershave little,ifany,control(see,
therelations betweentheso-calledna- byGILBERT KUSHNER e.g.,Kushner1973).Whywillanthro-
tiveinhabitants of the"non-Western" Tampa, Fla., U.S.A. 3 v 73 pologistsand anthropology, judged
worldand the "white"scholarsdoing I'm notsureifI writethisas an insider guiltyof supportingcolonialismby
theirresearchin thatfield.Some ten- or outsider,and I thinkat least part Lewis,suddenlychangecoursesimply
sionwillalwaysbe presentbetweenthe ofmyuncertainty (a failingfromwhich throughindividuals'doing fieldwork
anthropologist and thepersonstudied, Lewis,happilyforher, seemsnot to among theirown people? Who are
but in my opinion fewerproblems suffer)arises from ambiguitiesin one's own people anyway?Probably
arise,as theinterest in thegivenprob- Lewis'sextremely relevantpaper.This notEuropeanpeasantvillagers studied
lemis predominantly scientific. may suggestthat it is not so much by urbaniteEuropean ethnologists.
The descriptionof data is most anthropology which is in crisis,but Must I be examinedby Lewis first,
importantin present-dayanthro- rather some anthropologists, perhaps identifiedby whatevermeasuresshe
pology. But every anthropologist- especiallythose who rationalizethat has in mind,and thenbe setloose on
aftersome time-beginsto combine theywere "forcedto pose" as some- my"ownpeople"?Is allegianceto and
withhis descriptionhis own critical thingelse (are therereallyanysuch?). identificationwith the species per-
evaluation,and in factcollectsdata in Lewis's apparent need to speak in missible?
termsof hismethod,whichalso often termsof highlygeneralizedcategories I insiston thefreedomto makemy
involvesinterpretation. Perhapsthat such as "the anthropologist" doesn't own mistakes(Tax 1956),appeals to
is the main reason thatthe student, makeherargumentmoreconvincing. humanitarian interestsof all peoples
workingonly in a narrow sphere, Of coursesome anthropologists have and otherambiguousveritiesnotwith-
recordsdata withoutthe necessary beenand are nowcolonialists, butthat standing.
criticalevaluation;thiscan be achieved does notdemonstrate or evensuggest
onlybyexperience."Nonwhite" schol- that"objectivity"
and"outsiderism" are
arswhotreatthethemeof theirnative relatedin anywaytocolonialism. And byKHALIL NAKHLEH
culturemay also have this problem. one need not reifyculturein order Minn.,U.S.A. 25 iv 73
Collegeville,
In the firstphase of education,there to argue thatpeople in povertymust I feltan affinity
forLewis'sarticlefor
is usually a departure fromone's own changetheircultureratherthan the tworeasons:first,some of her views
native culture and an attachment to largersociocultural
contextthatcauses hereparallelmine(see Nakhleh1973);
the culture of a higher civilisational it to ariseand be maintained. Indeed, second,I am a nativeanthropologist
level. In the second phase, the anthro- one may even be a politicalradical, whoisat presentcarryingoutresearch
pologist tries to find his way back by as Oscar Lewiswas, and stilluphold in hisownculture.
criticalevaluation of the historicalde- a culture-of-poverty
pointof view.To The genesisofanthropology and its
velopmentofhisown homeland. In this blame thisand othersortsof social intimateconnectionwithcolonialistic
direction lies the future of anthro- illson the cultureconcept,or on the schemeshavebeen documentedmore
pology conducted by "'nonwhite"an- notionof culturalrelativism, is itself than once, and Lewis'sarticleis an
594 C U R R E N T A N T H R O P O L OG Y

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excellentadditionto thatbodyofliter- Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
ature.Sincetheproblemsthiskindof
intimacy createshavebeen recognized and stressingthe moral and cultural sistendy, the portrait white anthro-
by the practitionersthemselves,a inferiorityof the African. Whatever pologistswho conduct fieldworkin a
schemeforactionis alreadyoverdue. materials white scholars got were in- politicalsettinghave always painted is
Colonialismmeans exploitationof variably coloured to suit the "white not only of the Africanas a primitive
resources,be theyin the groundor taste" so that they would be read. but also of the society to which he
in the heads of men. It also means Both the missionarieswho wentahead belongsas politically,socially,and eco-
dichotomizationbetween superiors of the colonial mastersto "soften"the nomicallyinferior.Black American re-
andinferiors. The seminalquestionfor minds of the subject races and white jection of the work by whites is akin
anthropology,therefore,is how to writers described our religion, as to African rejection of the historyof
preventthe creationof the potential pagan, to the extent that no Western- African countries written by whites
forexploitation whilestudying people. ized native of the Third World will during colonial days. Even the few
Shifting the traditional orientation to appear at an ancestral shrine-the books writtenby earlyAfricanintellec-
the "perspectivistic" approach, as repositoryof our oral traditionsand tuals had to be writtenin the same
Lewissuggests,is an imperativeand wayoflife!The more theseelite natives vein in order to get a publisher. The
admirabletack,but it should not be driftedfrom their native culture, the mind of present-dayAfricansand the
theultimategoal. This is buta transi- more ridiculoustheybecame-neither extentof the crisisLewis speaks of are
tionalstage,duringwhichthepotential Europeans nor Africans! Further,by aptlyillustratedby a recent statement
of exploitation maystillthreaten.My virtueof the anthropologists'belong- by Nigeria Federal Commissioner for
premisemakessense if one keeps in ing to the group in power, theycould Health Alhaji Aminu Kano (Daily
mindthatthe description of cultural get into societies which to a native Times,May 2, 1973):
systemsat a frozenmomentin time, enquirer would be foreverbarred and The Federal Commissionerfor Health
whichultimatelyleads to structural get all the informationtheywanted. Alhaji Aminu Kano, regrettedthat the
stereotypes, is another formof ex- There were three main sources of disunity nowknownin theCountryorigi-
ploitation. errors in what these early workers natedfromdeliberately twistedhistoryof
To reduce the potentialfor ex- collected: (1) Being members of the Nigeriawritten by ColonialAuthorsand
ploitation,the traditionaldomain of governed race, the Africans often onlydishedout to NigerianScholarswho
anthropology, i.e., the studyof non- agreed with or were swayed to the had no opportunityofverifyingsuchhisto-
Western cultures (by Westerners), anthropologists'line of thought.(2) In ry.Those authorswhocame to Nigeriain
should be redefined.A moratorium the early '50s when some educated the guise of Missionarieswrotethe "so-
called" historyof Nigeriato satisfytheir
shouldbe imposedon crossing cultural radical informantshad started to rec- Colonialselfish
ends,therebycreatingroom
boundstostudya culture.A distinction ognize and resent these preferential forsuspicionand hatredamongNigerians.
hastobe madeherebetweentwogoals: treatments,they taught their people
(1) describinga givenculturewiththe either to give evasive answers or to
nebulousaimofunderstanding human "cook up" somethingafter "delibera-
nature in general and (2) action tionswithour elders" (Okojie 1960:8). byMAXWELL OWUSU
anthropology-studying a givengroup Thomas (1910:138), obliquely and in Sacramento,Calif., U.S.A. 18 v 73
in orderto help it delineatea specific the language of the group in power, Lewis's stimulating article follows a
setof problemsand findpossiblesolu- supported these firsttwo sources of verylong and continuingtraditionof
tions.AlthoughGoal 1 is methodo- errorswhen he wrote: scholarly debate concerning the
logicallypossibleforthe outsideran- grounds-notably the sociology-of
thropologist,itisdoubtful whetherthe It is frequently
assertedthatthechiefchar- knowledgeand the nature of sociocul-
disciplinecan affordtheluxury.Goal acteristicof the savageis, his readinessto turalreality.The general and intricate
2 cannotand shouldnotbe approached tellyouwhathe thinksyouwantto know, problem of "objectivity"in social re-
regardlesswhetherthe information thus
byoutsideranthropologists. I am con- supplied correspondsto the factsor not. search,
the relationshipbetween ideas
vincedthatif anthropologists are to ... He does however,realisein all proba- and interests,the constantsearch for
considerthewelfareof the "subjects" bility,thatthequestionerdoes notunder- socially "useful" knowledge, particu-
of theirstudiesas paramount,thus standwhathe is talkingabout. larly in periods of rapid social-eco-
eliminating exploitation, theyhave to nomic change or political upheaval,
be motivatedby morethana profes- (3) How often have we heard how transcend the rather brief historical,
sional degree; theyhave to share in all-powerfuleditors put articles in a albeit dehumanising and shattering,
theproblemsof those"subjects." way that would excite interestin the experience of "natives"associated with
home country of the anthropologist! Euro-colonialism.The symbioticrela-
For instance, any talk on Africa not tionshipbetweenWesternscholarship,
byXTOG. OKOJIE laced withphrases like "witchdoctor," includingscience and technology,and
Irrua, Nigeria. 8 v 73 "natives in their grass skirts," etc., Western control and domination of
Lewis's"Anthropology and Colonial- would be unnatural. A situation that non-Westernpeoples is now well es-
ism" is a brilliantstudy,and I find engenders more resentment in the tablished.
myself agreeingwithalmosteverysen- Africanintellectualis hard to imagine. I share with many concerned an-
tence she has used in describinga We in Africa have always found an thropologiststhe basic viewspresented
sordid and vexing subject. Indeed, underlyingpoliticalinnuendo in most with unusual candour and sympathy
thereis a crisis;thisis not surprising, writings of white workers. A few by Lewis. I have, indeed, addressed
norare thecausesfarto seek.Anthro- months ago a Canadian journalist, myself(Owusu 1971 a, b, n.d., 1972)
pologicalfieldworkers, ethnographers, aftervisitingNigeria,wroteof itscapi- to the fundamentalissues raised by the
foreign newspaper reporters,etc., tal, Lagos, as the "citywhere nothing study of "natives" of Africa and the
havecuta sorryfigurein thedevelop- works." If Lagos, the capital of Black Americasbywhite"outsiders."My pri-
ing world.Oftentheywentroundto Africa'sgiantNigeria,is a cityin chaos, maryinteresthas been withthevalidity
the remotest villagestakingdisparag- smaller African countries boasting of of anthropology'straditionalclaims to
ing photographsto show barbarism independence must be farcical! Con- be scientific.based not so much on
Vol.14 - No. 5 * December 1973 595

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theobviouslymistakenmethodological really part of an age-old methodo- ue to glorify the hunter-and, one
assumptionthat"thereis a single valid logical problem; nor does the mere mightadd, theremay never be an end
objective" and complete knowledge, appeal to anthropologiststo be more to the hunt.
the search for whkh is the principal committed to radical change (which
aim of anthropology,as on the crucial maybe in the serviceof the statusquo)
consideration that anthropological and the solutionof practicalproblems byROMAN RACZYNSKI
statementsand conclusionseithermust of Third World peoples, however Prague,Czechoslovakia. 9 v 73
follow from the definitions of the commendable, go far enough. At a The statementof Lewis that "anthro-
terms-are logically and analytically recentcollege-widesymposiumon my pology is in a state of crisis" is more
true-or, as empiricalstatements,must present campus, after the panel of than true. I want to draw attention
be verifiable or falsifiable in the largely concerned Third World pro- only to the fact that it is not only
Popperian sense. The verificationrule fessors had detailed the case against anthropology that is in crisis; even
(the free application of the regular Western exploitation and oppression more so are economics, history,soci-
procedures of scientificinvestigation: of non-European peoples, an equally ology, and especially political science.
accuracy of observation, controlled concerned,elderlyblack man fromthe These are the branches of science
comparison,the correctnessof reason- audience stood up and, angrily and traditionallyused and oftenabused for
ing, etc.) pertains eventually to the in themostobscene terms,stressedthat political aims. The situationhere is a
furtherclaim of anthropology to be poor and oppressed peoples did not sensitivebarometerof the general state
"objective" and a branch of natural need well-offcollege professorsto re- of a society. We have known periods
The ide-
science (Naturwissenschaften). mind them of their misery.To him, in which these disciplines (including
alists (humanists) fiercely challenge the primary functions of anthropo- anthropology)ceased to be branches
this view and, instead, see anthro- logy-the search for and the dissemi- of science at all, for political reasons.
pology as a branch of history,philoso- nation of truthabout all peoples and The cause of thecrisisof anthropology
phy,or art (Geisteswissenschaften). consciousness raising-are only re- must be sought in the crisis of our
We all knowthegreatdifficulty, even motelyimportant.There are only two whole industrial civilisation,a main
after first-classanthropological train- proven weapons against colonialism- sign of which is increasing limitation
ing, in attempting to describe and imperialism,organised political unity of the individual's opportunity for
analyse systematicallyand unambig- and armed struggle. self-realisation.
uously human societies, particularly Mair once said (1934:288, italics The chief device of industrialcivi-
alien ones, and the dangers inherent added): "The position of the person lisation is a subjectively"more com-
in naive empiricismand uncontrolled who sets up to know what is good for fortableand more agreeable" life.The
"subjectivism."In studyinghuman so- somebody else is not an enviable one: effortto acquire it is almost the only
cieties, we are really studying our- his motives are always suspect. It is psychological stimulus to progress.
selves,and the anthropologistinvaria- embarrassing to find oneselfuttering,in The bulk of the people pays for it by
bly finds himself having to fall back one ofthetextswhichare most catastrophically increasing the in-
all honesty,
on his own personal genius, integrity, frequentlycited by the devil for his terdependence of individuals, to the
judgment, imagination, and experi- purpose." However, anthropologists extent of bondage; the result is the
ence, based alwayson community(both qua anthropologistssincerelyinterest- feelingof stress,frustration, and alien-
academic and nonacademic) values ed in doing somethingabout the wel- ation. As a vent for this there arise
and pressures and often implicidyon fare of underprivilegedpeoples might various ideological currents,common
absolute ethical judgments. begin with a massive assault on the denominators of which are irratio-
All anthropology has always been twintheoreticalpillarsof popular and nalityand heedless compulsion to con-
done froma particularvalue position, academic racism: the Enlightenment formity.No wonder that the scholar
a discoloured perspective,subject to belief in the inevitable progress of is beaten fromall sides because of his
the so-called Michelson-Morleyeffect mankindheaded and controlledbythe boldness in pokinghis nose into affairs
bywhichwhatis observedchanges with "white master race" and the organic which are taboo for a "loyal" citizen.
the position of the observer. All our theoryof evolution,withitsstilldomi- Industrial civilisation became,
accounts are necessarily incomplete, nant sociopolitical versions-Social through historical circumstances, a
mostly time- and situation-bound,a Darwinism and Social-Imperialism- synonym of colonialism. We cannot
litde distorted, and-provided the Cultural-Relativism-which in giving change itany morethanwe can change
canons of logic and common sense are birthto modern anthropologydivided the factthatsome anthropologistsand
not grossly infringed-more or less mankind into two hostile, mutually social scientistsadministerpolicy and,
valid or true. As Firth puts it, "eth- exclusive groups: congenitally"inferi- in thiscase, policywhich damages the
nographic facts may be irrelevant-it or" nonwhitesand naturally"superior" Third World. Associatedwithcolonial-
does not matterso much if they [stu- whites.It does not even seem to have ism are paternalism,racism, and col-
dents] get the factswrong so long as occurred to anthropologiststhat the lectivebondage. The listof "scholars"
theycan argue the theories logically" basic terms,e.g. "tribes,""primitive," who have committedthemselvesto the
(1970:vii). "simple," or "uncivilized" societies as "scientificjustification"of the inequal-
Nevertheless,it is not so much facts opposed to "civilized" or "national" ity of individuals, social groups, and
(often indistinguishable from fanta- societies,which inform the academic human races could forma thickbook.
sies) as popular, taken-for-granted, curriculumare not primarilycognitive The impact of industrial civilisation
circular theories,e.g., the natural su- scientificcategories but invidious and provokes in the Third World xen-
periorityof Europeans, that signifi- propagandist in intent. Lewis's "per- ophobia, fascist-likenationalism,"col-
cantly shape our world views and spectivisticknowledge" mightprovide ored racism,"politicalextremism,and
behaviour toward others. Thus, the an answer to such terminologicaland neoimperialism. We must therefore
"multidimensionalview of reality"or other "scientific"problems in anthro- assume our share of the responsibility,
"perspectivistic knowledge" recom- pology. As W. E. B. DuBois once said, as members of industrialsociety and
mended byLewisas partofthe solution untilthelions have theirown historians as research workers in a discipline
to the currentanthropologicalcrisisis (anthropologists),the tales will contin- abused for politicalaims:

596 C U R R E N T A N T H R O P O L OG Y

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The position of the intellectual in Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
modern industrialsocietyis verylabile.
The intelligentsiais neithera class nor projectsof applied anthropology,with nantpoliticalinterestsof the timesmay
even a social stratum.It is only a set the involvementof both outsider and influence the anthropologists' own
of individuals of a certain degree of insider. viewpoints.
education who do mostlyintellectual There is, however, a positive con- However, I cannot agree withLewis
work (creation, extension, and ap- structivesuggestion in perspectivistic in her emphasis on the possibilityof
plication of values). The feeling of approaches to field research and to anthropologists'analyzing their own
group solidarityis rather weak, i.e., commitmentto the solvingof practical cultures. In Japan, the study of cus-
the possibilitiesof pressureare limited problems.In the developing countries toms in Japanese villages has been
to individualprotests,whichcan easily there is a great need for just such conductedbymembersof theJapanese
be hushed up. A well-organizedstrike approaches. Lewis deserves to be con- FolkloreSocietysince the 1930s, under
of workersin a branch producing val- gratulatedforshoutingattentionto it. the influence of similar studies in
ues destined for immediate consump- Anthropology has many affinities Europe. Afterthe World War II, rural
tion can quickly break the resistance with other disciplines. In the applied sociologistsand anthropologistsjoined
of employers or politicians. The in- field, I am convinced, developmental this trend, and I myselfhave mosdy
telligentsiahas no such possibilities,the social work has much to offer in been engaged in thiskind of research.
values it creates being too abstract or practical techniques for assisting in In my own experience, however, the
consumed aftertoo long a time. Also, solving practical problems. Particular studyof one's own culture has a very
a deep-rooted elitismdeprives the in- attentionshould be drawn to the "new clear limitation.As I have said else-
telligentsiaof its natural allies. There- community organization" of Arthur where (Sofue 1960:312), everyonehas
fore the intelligentsiais the most,and Dunham of the Universityof Michi- his own "cultural blind spots," and
most often, afflictedcategory of citi- gan. Task goals need the processgoals many important phases of his own
zens. of participation and the relationship culturestrikehim as too commonplace
I do not want my contributionto goals of overcomingthe old paternal- to note and are not observed closely.
end pessimistically.The present crisis ism and overdependencyif neocolon- Especially when he deals withpsycho-
of industrialsociety is only a sign of ialism is to be avoided. logical aspects, the task is similar to
the scientific-technicalrevolution,of a analyzing his own personality, and
transitionto a higher degree of civi- hence he may consciously or uncon-
lisation.The developed postindustrial byTAKAOSOFUE sciouslyavoid noticingsome verybasic
societywill have another social struc- Tokyo,Japan.8 v 73 characteristics.Therefore, it is often
ture, other problems and ways of I am glad that thisfundamentalprob- the case that these featurescan only
working. If we want to lead anthro- lem of anthropologists'ethics is now be discovered by observers from the
pology out of the blind alley, we must being discussed in CA. For several outside. Ruth Benedict's The Chrysan-
seek waysthatcorrespondto the epoch years this has been a very popular themumand the Sword, published in
of the scientific-technicalrevolution subject of discussion in Japan, too, 1946, is well accepted and widelyread
and tryto get financialindependence, even among the general public. Kat- among the Japanese general public
ideologicalnonalignment,and political suichi Honda, an anthropologically even today because it pointsout many
immunityfor our discipline. We must oriented news reporter,visited Negro basic traitsof the national culture and
work hard to overcome boundaries communitiesand Indian tribesof the personalitywhich the Japanese them-
and barriers,which have no business United States in 1969 and wrote an selves had never been aware of.
in science. Last but not least, we must article in a Japanese newspaper (re- Therefore, I believe that only collabo-
be aware, alwaysand everywhere,that printedin Honda 1970) on their very rationbetweentheinside observerand
there is only one mankind. unhappy situation. In this article, he theoutside observercan produce satis-
quotes an Indian as saying that the factoryresults.
anthropologistswho visitedthe reser-
byHUBERT REYNOLDS vation were only interestedin writing
DumagueteCity,Philippines.15 vii 73 Ph.D. theses and did not do any re- byMILAN STUCHLiK
Isn't itbetterto limitthe so-calledcrisis search really useful for Indians Temuco,Chile. 15 v 73
in anthropologyto the Third World? (Honda 1970:24 1). This articleand his I agree withLewis's diagnosis. She has
As part of the Third World here in subsequent discussions on anthro- takenone importantstep: the majority
the Philippines, I prefer not to over- pologists' roles toward "powerless" of discussions dealing with involve-
state the case. natives(Honda 1971a: 188-208; 1971b: ment, commitment,value-freeversus
Some of the "protest" content of 59-76) aroused various reactions value-laden approaches, etc., treatthe
Lewis's positionpapei is understanda- in Japan from intellectuals and an- problem as a problem in normative
ble and should receive sympathetic thropologists as well (e.g., Konishi ethics. Anthropologists, it is said,
support-but whyweaken the case by 1972). The relationshipbetweenJapa- should not side, consciouslyor uncon-
utilizing the old card-stacking tech- nese anthropologistsand the Ainus of sciously,with colonialism and should
nique? Where are references to an- Hokkaido had been criticizedby the feel committedto the interestsof the
thropologistslike Oscar Lewis and to Ainus themselvesand by some gradu- groups they are studying.This com-
the whole development approach in the ate students of anthropology, who mitmentis usually seen as opposed to
field? And why contrast "objectivity" pointed out the danger that Japanese scientific objectivity; we should do
with "involvement"? While in the anthropologymighthelp possible Jap- whatis morallyright,even if it means
processof fieldresearchall biases must anese imperialism in the future. All loweringthe standards of objectivity.
be under control and limited for un- these problems have been the subject Lewis points out that thisjust isn't so:
derstandingthe culture from the cul- of long disputes, and the content of howeverhostileor sympathetican an-
tural premises of the insider, then, these discussions is largely the same thropologistmay be to the interests
afterthe data has been processed for as pointed out in Lewis's paper. I also of the group he is studying, he is
valid conclusions,values may enter in agree with the author that the domi- basically an outsider. As such, he is

Vol.14 * No. 5 * December


1973 597

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collecting data, analysing them, and vity.The crisis of anthropology,say nothingnew except thatitoffersa new
drawing explanatory conclusions ac- its new critics,requires no less than basis for claims to legitimacy.
cording to canons and procedures the rethinking,reinventing,or rebirth In the past, social science, including
whichmay be (and usually are) totally of the discipline. Lewis's eschatology anthropology,has made its claim for
alien to the realityof thatgroup. This, castsher in thedouble roleof mortician the rightto exist on the grounds that
in itself, is understandable and not forthe old, coopted anthropologyand freedom of inquiry was itself an
invalid: it becomes so, however, if (as midwife for the new anthropology. instrumentalvalue. Western society
normallyhappens) the conclusionsare The question is how this new anthro- has accepted this claim for several
presented as the objective interpreta- pology differsfromthe old. centuries,but,as Bensman and Lilien-
tion of reality.In such a case, objecti- The idea that anthropologymay be feld (1972:152) have noted, "if the
vity becomes largely a myth. While of instrumentalvalue is not new and logic of the need for freedom for
studyingmythsand beliefs and their iuns through all of Western social science is consistent, then there is
behavioural and cognitive conse- science. Instrumentalismin anthro- nothingin science,per se, thatrequires
quences among native peoples, we pology has been expressed as a claim freedom for anyone else except the
consistendy refuse to examine the to be both the synthesizingscience that scientist,or even the scientistof one
cognitive consequences of our own would embrace all of mankind and a particularschool of thoughtwithinthe
myths.I thinkLewis makes thisabun- policyscience capable of solving man- discipline." In anthropology, this
dandy clear. kind's problems. It has been assumed means thatinvestigators maygain their
Agreeing as I do with Lewis's that the anthropologisthimselfis free freedom at the expense of their sub-
diagnosis,however,I findit somewhat of the biases, self-interest,and instru- jects. It may also mean that anthro-
difficultto agree with her prognosis, mentalvalues associated withthe ordi- pologists may lose their freedom to
basically for two reasons. First, it is nary mortals he studies and advises. colleagues who proclaimthemselvesto
permissible to present outsider an- While Lewis servesthe useful purpose be the newly legitimatephilosopher-
thropologistsas a homogeneous unity, of exposing these claims as false, it is kings of professionaland political af-
since the possible internal heteroge- not clear how the new anthropology fairs.
neityof their own socioculturalenvi- solves the problem of defininga new To this observer, who still places
ronment is largely irrelevant; they set of values for anthropology. credence in the idea of free inquiry,
personifya general "outside" for the There is nothingin anthropologyas it would appear to be immoral and
group they study. I doubt that it is such thatcan guarantee thatits values unethicalto be both an anthropologist
permissibleto present insider anthro- are independent of itself and its and a revolutionary,for to attemptto
pologists as equally homogeneous. practitioners.While thisidea has come be both at once simultaneouslycor-
Upon closer examination theywill be relativelylate to anthropology,Lewis rupts two otherwise independently
seen as committednot to their society recognizes it and uses it as the basis honorable professions.
as a whole, but to some specificpower for her criticismand as the grounds
or pressure group within it; and in for reconceiving anthropology in
their case the internal heterogeneity termsof another set of values known
of theirsocioculturalenvironmentbe- as "perspectivistic knowledge." Ac- byRENATE VON GIZYCKI
comes very relevant.The outsider-in- cording to Lewis, perspectivistic Kassel-Wilhelmshohe, Germany.14 v 73
sider differencemay be not so much knowledge"viewsrealityfromthe par- Indeed, "anthropologyis in a state of
a dichotomyas a continuum. ticularexistentialpositionoccupied by crisis." Recent examples from Thai-
My second reason has to do with the observer." In addition, perspecti- land (see, e.g., Jones 1971) have shown
what Lewis calls the perspectivisticap- visticknowledge means "that the pos- the possible misuse of anthropological
proach. Since the outsider lacks the sibilitiesof understandingare infinite knowledge, and Wounded Knee has
perception of the internal reality of and closely linked with [the anthro- again demonstratedhow littleanthro-
the group he is studying,and since pologist's] situationand purpose." pology can do to help minoritieseven
the insider lacks the detachmentnec- By definition all anthropologists, within a country where it is held in
essary for reporting cold facts, we past and present, have viewed their high esteem, well represented at uni-
should take both views as necessary realitiesfrom theirparticularexisten- versities, and well funded. Anthro-
components of a complete explana- tial positions.It is also true that there pology is by no means a "science for
tion. Isn't this a somewhat jigsaw- are many formsof understandingand the people." As professionaland aca-
puzzle conception of objectivity?Per- thatthese are relativeto the observer's demic ambition is now almost daily
haps, instead of tryingto construe a situationand purpose. Perspectivistic confrontedwith the "natural" (which
complex pictureby combiningoppos- knowledge thus appears to be con- I prefer to call social and political)
ing particularisticinterpretations,we strained only by the purposes of the limitationsof our field, this problem
should tryto study more consistently investigator.Since investigatorsmay will have to be faced even by the
what makes them particularistic. have many different purposes, an- advocates of "value-freeresearch"and
thropology embraces all these "pure science": their"objects" are sim-
purposes without intrinsicethical or plydisappearing,eitherby extermina-
byARTHURJ. VIDICH moral limitations.Lewis's substitution tion-as in manypartsof Latin Ameri-
New York,N.Y., U.S.A. 15 v 73 of values is not a solutionto the prob- ca (see the Declaration of Barbados)
Anthropology,for most of its history, lem and may in fact lead to deeper or by an emancipation to which few
has been relativelyfree of criticism formsof corruptionand opportunism researchershave lent a helping hand.
fromboth the primitivesit has studied than already exist within the profes- Much as I appreciate sound concep-
and dissident colleagues within its sional ranks. tualization,I doubt whetherthe rela-
ranks (Vidich 1966). Within the past Lewis conceives of anthropologyas tion between colonialism (or, for that
few years, a dramatic reversal has oc- an instrumentalvalue that can serve matter,imperialism)and anthropology
curred, and "anthropology"has been her own purposes and values. In this can adequately be discussed on an
accused of monstrous misbehavior respect,she is no differentfrommany abstract and a historical basis (e.g.,
with respect to its politics,humanity, of those whom she criticizes,and per- Horvath 1972). Some questions I
morals, ethics, and scientificobjecti- sniect1v1st1c know]e~dre amnounts to would like to discuss in more detail
598 C UR RENT AN TH ROPOLOG Y

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with the author: Will permitting"the Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
tables to be turned" really contribute
much to ending the dehumanizing dent and small peoples fromdistant thatmatter,partialautonomy(see, e.g.,
process of objectification?The myth culturesbut the normsof theirown Fall 1960) is needed for decisions as
of "objectivity"needs dismantling,I societies,among othersthe ideology to how and to what extentthis process
agree; but will a "perspectivistic"ap- ofanthropology. Justas I cannotquite should be influenced.In thiscase un-
proach reallybe sufficientto cope with accepttheinside-outside alternative, I prejudiced use is even being made of
it? Doesn't it, rather, allow the ideal doubtwhether theory and practiceare earlier French colonial research data;
of "objective truth"(see, e.g., Myrdal ofmutually exclusiveimportance. You ingroup and outgroup perspectiveare
1969) to returnsomehow throughthe cannotreallydo without a comprehen- thus interrelated,not in the sense that
back door? And how many perspec- siveconceptualframework ifyouwish necessarily differentpeople have to
tives add up to the full picture? Too to tacklerelevantproblems,for in- represent them, but by a social and
litde attention might still be paid to stance,thesurvivalnotjustof anthro- political theory (in this case Marxist)
historical and socioeconomic dimen- pologybutofits"objects."An interest- whichdoes not stop at "middle-range."
sions,includingthecolonial or imperi- ing reportfromNorthVietnam(Le Perhaps on firstsightthislooks rather
alistic structure of relationship be- Van Hao 1972) deals, froman eth- like the Thailand example; however,
tween the observer and his "object." nographicpoint of view, with the theMeo in Vietnam,forexample, have
Anothermethodologicalpoint: Where practicalproblemof integrating hill- apparendy been "offered"neitherres-
and when is the anthropologist an tribeminorities and involvesa theory ervations,camps, nor jobs as merce-
insider?Whatabout class and language ofcultureand nationalidentity as well naries or plantationcoolies. Does this
barriers, the "elaborated code" of as socioeconomic development in this model work? That would be worth-
science?The problem of identification society.The ethnologist is interested while studying;but who would fund
and of referencegroup remains to be in thetraditions of thevillagepeople it? This again turns our attention to
solved. These questions may possibly and at the same time is engaged in the social conditions of our own an-
be summarized thus: Will anthro- developingconditions oflife,muchin thropological work, another worthy
pology in the end become, and have thewayCaulfield(1972)hassuggested, research project for committedschol-
to become, just another social science? as a "partisan
participant."Asa socialist ars. Should we inviteAfricansto help
Still, with Diamond (1964), I would cadre,he identifies withtheneeds of us withit?Or would this,as theauthor,
believe in certaincontributionsof an- the people, they being part of his in a verysubde analysisof racismunder
thropologyto man's knowledge about society.Obviously,a more compre- the cover of idealization,shows, imply
himself,provided anthropologistsare hensivetheory(see,e.g.,Ribeiro1971) just a more refined form of. colo-
ready to "objectify"not only depen- ofintegration and participation or,for nialism?

Reply sense of identityand others'evaluation of colonialismin Africawiththe argu-


of that identity may complicate the ment "If we whitesleave, it will only
matter,but certainattributesare more mean that Africans will oppress one
byDIANE K. LEWIS determinativein a particularsituation another." This argument is disturb-
Santa Cruz, Calif., U.S.A. 20 Vii 73 than others. Thus, among North inglyextendedbyintellectualswho feel
I agree withthose who stressthe com- American minoritiesat present,ethni- it is theirmission to expose the prob-
plexities of the issues raised in this cityis a strongunifyingforcewithhigh lemsofThird Worldcountries(to show
paper and willattemptto clarifysome salience; there is probably littlediffi- they were better off under colonial-
of them. The proposals for insider cultyin arrivingat consensusas to who ism?). The critical spirit Brokensha
anthropology and for perspectivism is an insider in ethnic terms,though advocates is admirable but more ap-
have been criticallyappraised. With there may be, considering intragroup propriately applied by us North
regardto the first,Berthoud, Kushner, political and socioeconomic dif- Americans to issues of political power
Stuchlik and Von Gizycki ask, "How ferences, some difficultyin defining and moralitycloser to home.
does one define the insider?" and an insider in ideological terms. In a I would offer somewhat the same
Albo, Berthoud, Brokensha, Frucht, complex new Africannationwithhier- response to those who charge that in
Kushner, and, by implication, Fuchs archically arranged ethnic groups, many Third World countries govern-
ask, "How is one assured that the mutual agreement regarding insider mentsare no less elitist,colonialist,and
insider, once identified, is any less status would probably accord impor- oppressive in their relations to their
exploitativethan the outsider?" tance to ethnic, class, and ideological own people than were European out-
Insider anthropology,in which "in- considerations. siders. I doubt whetheroutsiders are
sider" at present is synonymouswith Stuchlik'spointthatoutsider-insider in the best position to understand the
the traditional objects of anthro- distinctionsmay be better viewed as strugglesof Third World countriesto
pological research, is offered as a a continuum than as a dichotomy establishthemselvesaftercenturiesof
possible correctiveforthe human suf- seems appropriate. I would add that European politicaldomination,partic-
feringand theoreticalbiases concomi- as a group's circumstancesand con- ularlyin view of present-dayoutsider
tantwithmuch outsideranthropology. sciousnesschange, the basis forvalida- interferenceand deliberatelycreated
The status of insider is situationally tion of insider status may also shift, divisiveness. An assumption is that,
and operationallydefined by the indi- i.e., from ethnic or class to primarily since people act in terms of self-in-
vidual in the contextof and in interac- ideological considerations. terest, social scientistswho identify
tionwitha particulargroup. The indi- Brokensha's observationthat Third with the interestsof the groups with
vidual has a conscious sense of self World leaders may reject Western so- which they work and must live with
whichthegroup he/she wishesto work cial scientistsbecause theyfearoutside the resultsof theiractionswillbe more
witheitherrecognizesor does not. The criticismof their governmentsbrings apt to conduct themselves so as to
factthatmanyattributesmake up one's to mind those who oDDosed the end further the groups' interests. Since
Vol. 14 * No. 5 - 599

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insiders are more likely to be in this ones. Thus, explicit ideologies are to theinequitiesand exploitationwhich
position than outsiders, insider an- needed to form the basis of the new interferedwithtrue freedomof inqui-
thropologymay help curb intellectual theories,as old ideologies formed the ry in the past. If, in the future,tradi-
exploitationand academic colonialism. basis of traditional theories. Charles tional,outsider anthropologyfinds its
On the other hand, there is nothing Valentine (personal communication, studiescurtailed,it maybe because the
intrinsicto the role of insider that 1971) has noted that without such people themselves,the subjects,willno
assures commitmentto one's own peo- ideological commitment, insider longer permit them. Similarly,if the
ple. Thus, to answer Berthoud's rhe- practitionerscan be coopted and ma- development of a radical insider an-
toricalquestion of how we justifyin- nipulated for the oppression of their thropologyis opposed, it willprobably
sider oppression, the answer is, we do own people. Furthermore, isolation be because it threatens the interests
not. can be fostered so as to make them of those who benefit from present
I concur withall who point out that intellectually and pragmatically in- inequities.
perspectivismdoes not solve the prob- capable of dealing withthe wider con- Berthoud calls the insistence that
lems of exploitation raised in the textof oppression. anthropologistsrefuse to continue to
paper. As Albo, Berthoud, Frucht, Thus, in the long run, a theoretical exploit the Third World naive in that
Gjessing, Stuchlik, Nakhleh, Owusu, radicalism requires the collaboration it ignores the neocolonialism which
and Von Gizyckiindicateand as Vidich of both insider and outsider and an makes such exploitation inevitable.
states, perspectivismserves as many understandingof both the oppressors Frucht argues that no anthropology
purposes as there are anthropologists and the oppressed. Whether,as Nakh- is possible in the present political cli-
and does so withoutethical or moral leh suggests,the potentialforexploita- mate. Fuchs also sees the situation of
limitations.Being philosophically,the- tion continues to be so great that a the academic as hopeless, given the
oretically,and ideologicallyneutral, it moratorium is necessary on crossing realities of the power relationships
can only initiate, not form the basis cultural boundaries and whether, as within which anthropology exists.
of, a new criticalanthropology. Gjessing suggests, it will be possible These views are defeatistand as per-
In the contextof traditionalanthro- eventuallyfor radical anthropologists petuative of the status quo as those
pology, perspectivism simply legiti- to combine withinthemselvesthe two of traditional, conservative social
mates the point of view of anthro- perspectivesare mattersforcontinued science. It is becauseof worldwide op-
pology's subjects. Okojie's comments debate. pression and exploitationthat a radi-
clearly show that this outlook has Like the majorityof my colleagues, cal, activistsocial science is needed and
heretoforenot been adequately repre- I am not yetable to specifythe content is emerging. In these circumstances,
sented. Moreover,as Okojie, Raczyns- of future radical theories. However, should we sitsilentlyand helplesslyor
ki, and Fuchs note, the problems of perspectivism and insider anthro- attemptto contributein some way to
Third World people have been not pology may offer a needed vantage the revolutionin consciousness which
onlyignored but exacerbated by many point for theirdevelopment. That the is making change possible? It is as-
traditional anthropologists through new theorieswillprobablybe initiated, sumed by thesecommentatorsthatthe
the processesand productsof research tested,and refinedunder highlyprag- discipline is of a single mind when,
formulatedin the outsider's interest. maticcircumstancesis attestedto most in reality,it is composed of diverse
Thus, perspectivism is inseparable interestingly by Von Gizycki'sdescrip- groups,among whichare manyno less
from insider anthropology.Together tionof theworkofa NorthVietnamese appalled than they,but willingto work
theyconstitutea methodologicalbasis ethnologist. toward meaningfulchange. To argue
for formulationof problems and pre- The need forperspectivismin social that a relevant anthropology is only
sentation of knowledge distinctfrom science is apparent when we realize possible when worldwide inequalities
those of objective, outsider anthro- the difficultyof assuring equal voice are ended is to ignore the potential
pology. forthose who have been silentobjects and obligation of the social scientist
It should be clear thatperspectivism of study in the past. This is demon- to help bring about the creative
and insideranthropologydo, as Vidich stratedby Vidich, who feels that free- changes necessary.Afterall,who needs
charges, have an instrumentalvalue. dom of the formerlyoppressed to radical, activist social scientists in
Unlike traditional anthropologists, challenge traditional theories and Utopia?
who were unaware of or unwillingto perspectivesis linked to loss of free- I wonder whetherBruner, who sees
admit the self-servingnature of their dom of outsider anthropologists to the collaboration of insider and out-
work,the insideranthropologistmakes pursue their own work. This would sider as a possibilityfor the study of
itexplicit.This stanceis found in other be true only insofar as their work Third World countries, would not
disciplines as well; minorities are continues to oppress and limit the considerthe studyof one's own people
franklyrewritinghistory,psychology, freedomof the objects of study.Vidich a creativechallenge ratherthan a "re-
and sociology in terms of their own realizes this, for he recognizes that treat."It has been noted that anthro-
perspectivesand interests.The point freedom of inquirymay be gained at pologists,because of theiroutsiderrole
is that these new insider approaches the expense of one's subjects. His re- in other cultures,bringa unique per-
are no less legitimatein termsof the sponse to the notion that formerob- spective to work within their own
realitytheydisclose than the work of jects have a rightto conduct studies in society.
outsiders. theirown interestis much like that of It is interestingthatSofue findsthat
AlbM, Berthoud, and Von Gizycki many Euro-American liberals in the onlycollaborationbetweeninsiderand
noterightlythatthe paper should have past to the idea of Black Power. Rather outsider produces satisfactoryresults
been more explicitregardingthe need than recognizing it as an expression in Japan. While collaboration may be
for new conceptual frameworksand of people's desire forcontrolover their the answer in many situationsat pre-
radical theories of change and devel- own lives, liberals saw only that it sent, when the study involves an op-
opment. Frucht and Berthoud warn undermined their own privilegesvis- pressed or formerlyoppressed group,
thattheoreticalradicalismmustexpose a-vis the oppressed. it would seem that the terms should
the biases of current theories, and I To clear up doubts on this point, be decided upon by the insidergroup.
would argue thatit must make explicit the paper advocates truly free and Moreover, if the group to be studied
the interestswhich underlie the new meaningfulinquiryforall and an end is in a sensitivesituation,it is highly
600 C U R RENT A N T H RO PO LOG Y

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problematicwhetheran objective out- Lewis: ANTHROPOLOGY AND COLONIALISM
sider will be accepted. In such a situa-
tion, perhaps the only possibilityis an I also dispute Brokensha'sclaim that that anthropologycould not perhaps
insideresearcheractivelycommittedto anthropologistshave studied colonial- have been a product of both the En-
the group's goals. ism. While there were studies stimu- lightenment and colonialism. This
I take issue with Brokensha, who lated by colonial intereststo look into paper has not meant to impugn the
chooses to ignore my "extreme" com- politics,land tenure, native law, and dedication and perseverance of an-
mentthatthe formerlyoppressed, the the like,studiesrelatedto specificmat- thropologistsor to deny thatthere are
subjects of anthropological study, tersof colonial policyor criticalof that thosewho have workedas honestlyand
should have the sole rightto observe policy,these studies seemed clearly in ethicallyas they could given the cir-
and define their culture and specify the interest of perpetuating the cumstances. It has attemptedto point
the terms under which outsiders are empire.Where in anthropologydid we out the unacknowledged effectof co-
allowed to do so. It is essential that have, as Alb6 notes,the macroanalysis lonialismon anthropology.In the same
formerobjects no longerbe vulnerable that puts the study of traditionalcul- way, others have demonstrated the
to outside intellectualand academic tures in proper perspective or the relationshipbetween scientificracism
exploitation,thatpowerover the terms considerationof the meaning of colo- and the development of anthro-
of study no longer rest in the hands nialism for the natives themselves in pological thought.Recognitionof this
of the formermasters,ifsocial science terms of their own interests?In my interplaybetween dominant intellec-
and political, economic, and cultural opinion, there is considerable dif- tual and political forces and anthro-
relationshipsare to be decolonized. If ference between the interestof some pologydoes not make of everyanthro-
this issue is not faced and dealt with early anthropologistsin cultural fac- pologist a colonialistor a racist unless
squarely, anthropology is in grave tors impingingon colonial policy and we are willingto accept the notion that
danger. The argument is that the an- a considerationof the theoreticaland we are all passive pawns of our own
thropologistshould not be permitted methodological implications of the historyand culture. This paper was
to enter, to study, and to remain in structureof inequalityfor the peoples writtenon theassumptionthatanthro-
a Third World countryunless the peo- studiedand forthe discipline.It is true pologists can influence the course of
ple or theirrepresentativesfeelhe/she that with the breakdown of colonial the discipline. It is only when we can
has something to offer, i.e., that the empire and with the rising voice of look at our own past from the
research will be in their interest. In Third World intellectuals,the effect viewpointof the oppressed and gauge
the event of competing factionsand of the colonial process can no longer thereby the depth of contemporary
changes of power in Third World be ignoredby Westernsocial scientists. disaffectionthat we can begin to con-
countries,the anthropologistcan take I wonder whether Firth's remark, sider realistic possibilitiesfor the fu-
his/herchances (a situationnot unlike cited by Brokensha, is meant to imply ture.
the currentone) or stayat home.

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