Objectivity as a Method in Anthropology Essay

Objectivity as a Method in Anthropology
A critique of Roy D'Andrade's 1995 article, "Moral Models in Anthropology".
# 153952 | 0 words | 0 sources | 2014 | CA
Published by on Jul 23, 2014 in Anthropology (General)


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From the Paper:

"This essay is a broad critique of Roy D'Amdrade's 1995 article, "Moral Models in Anthropology," in which he offers a defense of the objective model in opposition to what he calls "the moral model" inspired by postmodernism. The essay argues, against D'Andrade, that objectivity in anthropology is not possible on account of the very nature of anthropological inquiry, thus rendering the question of the desirability of the objectivity irrelevant. The crux of the argument is the contention that the subject-object distinction is not possible in anthropology as it is in the natural sciences, and that the field of anthropology cannot adopt the scientific method since it is not a "science" in the rigorous sense of that term, not having an external vantage point from which to conduct its observations. Citing the controversies surrounding the work of ethnographers such as Margaret Meade and Napoleon Chagnon, the essay explores anthropology's problem of replicability, which in the scientific method is considered the ultimate test of objectivity. The essay also examines the impediment posed to objectivity bythe ethnographer's personal value system and his or her unavoidable emotional reactions to observations of such practices as clitoridectomy and the stoning of rape victims. Finally, the essay points out that feigning objectivity in cases where the facts condemn themselves makes the anthropologist come across as hypocritical at best. The essay concludes by expressing the hope that a third alternative will emerge in anthropology that avoids the extremes of the objective model on one hand and the moral model on the other."

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