Toward a critically engaged ethnographic practice
This article interogates what it means for anthropologists as "social critics" to be engaged in documenting efforts that not only have explanatory power but connect that power to praxis. The key here is to recognize how delimiting innocence and guilt in the context of war is clearly a political act that is not without problems. It involves identifying our public spheres and determining what has happened to those publics within which we speak. I suggest we first rethink what it means for ethnography to serve a public domain within which we speak. This involves rethinking what it means for ethnography to serve a public domain as a mechanism of engagement with all types of subjects- victims, warlords, negotiators, intermediaries, child soldiers, and even so-called terrorists. In this regard, I suggest that return to the intentions at the core of the anthropological code of ethics, codes that guide our commitment to our informant publics. By locating the limits of our code of ethics we can rectify the ways that the history of anthropological engagement in the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries has been preoccupied with documenting "local" peoples as the "authentic" voices to be protected and understood while it has excluded other interlocutors. By rethinking the ethics of research we can use the tools of our discipline in principled forms of engagement with a range of publics.
Clarke, K. (2010). Toward a critically engaged ethnographic practice. Current Anthropology, 51(SUPPL. 2). doi:10.1086/653673