Trouble in para-sites: deference and influence in the ethnography of epistemic elites

Gilbert, Paul Robert (2015) Trouble in para-sites: deference and influence in the ethnography of epistemic elites. Anthropology in Action, 22 (3). pp. 52-62. ISSN 0967-201X

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Abstract

Through his enduring efforts to interrogate the regulative ideals of fieldwork, George Marcus has empowered doctoral students in anthropology to rethink their ethnographic encounters in terms that reflect novel objects and contexts of inquiry. Marcus’ work has culminated in a charter for ethnographic research among ‘epistemic communities’ that requires ‘deferral’ to these elite modes of knowing. For adherents to this programme of methodological reform, the deliberately staged ‘para-site’ – an opportunity for ethnographers and their ‘epistemic partners’ to reflect upon a shared intellectual purpose – is the signature fieldwork encounter. This paper draws on doctoral research carried out among the overlapping epistemic communities that comprise London’s market for mining finance, and reviews an attempt to carve out a para-site of my own. Troubled by this experience, and by the ascendant style of deferent anthropology, I think through possibilities for more critical ethnographic research among epistemic elites.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Ethnography; Multi-Sited Ethnography; Corporate Social Responsibility; Corporate Diplomacy; Extractive Industries
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Development
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Depositing User: Paul Robert Gilbert
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 10:40
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 10:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/69985

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