7What spatial assumptions undergird anthropology’s approach to fieldwork? Why are Gupta
and Ferguson critical of “cultural critique” in anthropology?
•Anthropology’s main focus
-- Fieldwork: they do field work to go to those remote locations and try and understand culture.
Try and understand how and what kind of culture this so called “remote” group has.
--Remote location (most “other of others”
•Assumptions about space:
--the groups that they study are radically different. So a white man goes to study the desert, so the
group that they study is radically different from the culture that the anthropologists come from.
-- they occupy discontinuous spaces, meaning, there is no connection between the anthropologists
culture and that particular group’s culture
--anthropologists do field work to study a completely different culture, the group that is being
studied seem to be inhabiting a space that is discontinuous from the anthropologist
-- theorize contact, conflict and contradiction from this starting point of discontinuity
Space and anthropological representation (cultural difference)
•When colonialism started, anthropology had an important role to play. Anthropologists, played an
important role and contributed to colonial plan to rule the lands. But now anthropologists now say
to study other culture not to understand them but to understand ourselves.
•Cultural critique dependent upon spatialized understanding of cultural difference
•Anthropologist in the past studied group to help colonialism. But now they are understand other
culture in order to better understand ourselves, to post questions about ourselves.
•Cultural critique establishing a dialogic relationship between one culture and the other.
•Culture belongs to a certain distinctive group within our world
•Culture differences only happens when space is interconnected
•IMPORTANT: we should not see this as simply being a bounded community. How is it that it
was connected in the past? Anthropologist try to think about how is it that dist i nctive groups are
transfor med by the coming of big forces. 2 big forces: colonialism and capitalism. How is that
community and that groups transformed by the coming of colonialism and capitalism. up until it
came this group had nothing to do with the outside world. But the authors said that was not the
case! They said how it existed in the past and now have a new form of interconnection.