chapter  1
28 Pages

Anthropology and autobiography Participatory experience and embodied knowledge

This collection is not concerned with the autobiographies of individual academics who happen to be anthropologists. It asks questions about the links between the anthropologist’s experience of fieldwork, other cultures, other notions of autobiography and ultimately the written text. Autobiography for its own sake is increasingly recognised by the literary canon as a genre (Olney 1980) and, together with individual biographies, is being used within history (Bertaux 1981; Vincent 1981; Bland and John 1990). Doubtless anthropologists could make innovative contributions in those domains. Within the discipline of anthropology, there is further scope for its insertion. Here the anthropologist’s past is relevant only in so far as it relates to the anthropological enterprise, which includes the choice of area and study, the experience of fieldwork, analysis and writing.