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Solidarity with the powerful? Fieldwork and Ethnography with Elites

Sampson, Steven LU (2013) Swedish Anthropology Association (SANT) årsmøte p.1-8
Abstract
Anthropologists have a long history talking about what we should do when we research less powerful or subordinate groups. We build rapport, we give them voice, we describe their world to others, we show their problems and their solutions. We have a kind of solidarity with them. But more of us are now researching groups with autonomous resources and power. I myself have been with NGO elites, planners and consultants, global anti-bribery activists and most recently, compliance professionals promoting business ethics. None of these people are ‘subaltern’. Our project is to ‘tell their story’, but their project is to make sure their story is a good one. While we do not simply want to ‘expose’ them, we want to tell the truth about how powerful... (More)
Anthropologists have a long history talking about what we should do when we research less powerful or subordinate groups. We build rapport, we give them voice, we describe their world to others, we show their problems and their solutions. We have a kind of solidarity with them. But more of us are now researching groups with autonomous resources and power. I myself have been with NGO elites, planners and consultants, global anti-bribery activists and most recently, compliance professionals promoting business ethics. None of these people are ‘subaltern’. Our project is to ‘tell their story’, but their project is to make sure their story is a good one. While we do not simply want to ‘expose’ them, we want to tell the truth about how powerful groups operate. What kind of ethical obligations and methodological issues arise doing research with elites? What kind of solidarity should we have with them? (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
social anthropology, elites, fieldwork, ethnography, ethnographic methods
pages
8 pages
conference name
Swedish Anthropology Association (SANT) årsmøte
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f4deceb7-1769-4139-952b-a9454ad87b6d (old id 4058121)
date added to LUP
2013-09-27 08:14:16
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:20:06
@misc{f4deceb7-1769-4139-952b-a9454ad87b6d,
  abstract     = {Anthropologists have a long history talking about what we should do when we research less powerful or subordinate groups. We build rapport, we give them voice, we describe their world to others, we show their problems and their solutions. We have a kind of solidarity with them. But more of us are now researching groups with autonomous resources and power. I myself have been with NGO elites, planners and consultants, global anti-bribery activists and most recently, compliance professionals promoting business ethics. None of these people are ‘subaltern’. Our project is to ‘tell their story’, but their project is to make sure their story is a good one. While we do not simply want to ‘expose’ them, we want to tell the truth about how powerful groups operate. What kind of ethical obligations and methodological issues arise doing research with elites? What kind of solidarity should we have with them?},
  author       = {Sampson, Steven},
  keyword      = {social anthropology,elites,fieldwork,ethnography,ethnographic methods},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--8},
  title        = {Solidarity with the powerful? Fieldwork and Ethnography with Elites},
  year         = {2013},
}