Ethnography is to anthropology as…

Many anthropologists stress the importance of ethnography, and when it comes to disciplinary turf wars anthropologists can also be very protective of it. In his post “Ethnographic Disciplines”, Enkerli argues ethnography has also developed in a number of other disciplines. He writes:

“I specifically wish to point out that ethnography is not an “exclusive prerogative” of anthropology. And I perceive important connections between these disciplines.”

Many disciplines play with ethnographic, or ethnographic-like methods to do research. As Enkerli goes on to say, ethnography is also done by market-researchers, but he wonders how close the methods really are in application and purpose.

[Note that the “disciplinary turf wars” line is an official trademark of the Carl corporation. Patent can be found here. ]

See also:

Dr. Postill discusses Tim Ingold’s position that “Anthropology is not ethnography”.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks a lot for the ping and contextualization. Funny the Fabian post comes up as “possibly related” since his whole Montreal trip served as a backdrop for my comments about exclusivity.
    A former folkloristics teacher of mine once told me that “folklore had invented ethnography.” While Fabian explicitly claims that ethnography belongs to anthropology and that other disciplines are borrowing ethnography from anthro (a claim which was directly challenged during the “intersubjectivity in ethnography” colloquium for which Fabian was a guest of honour), that Concordia talk by Fabian also provided some support to that folklorist’s own claim, talking as he was about the first ethnography book (the one with Malinowski’s father as one of several authors) in a way that made it sound very close to folkloristics of Habsburg-era European “nations.”


  2. For me division on ethnography / anthropology is off target. The only argument which really support for this distinction is historicaly (history of discipline). I know that is tradition (Levi Strauss explanation of this term for example), but today after postmodern critic, all we know that any gathering data/collecting/description is also at once interpretation! So, there is no real qualitative difference beetwen ethnography (ethnology) and anthropology. I think we shoul stay by term of anthropology, because this last one is including understanding of the rest (there isn’t anthropology without gathering data, description and (in real) interpretation at last!). I think we should rather rethink what is specific method of gaining knowledge for (cultural/social) anthropology. Re-think definition of (cultural/social)anthropology


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: