Abstract

This article introduces some of the challenges of doing ethnography in contexts such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—places where violence and the certainty of uncertainty have become the backdrop for social interaction. It also considers the potential contributions to anthropological theory of such an undertaking. In particular it outlines a fundamental re-orientation towards the concept of "the event." Drawing contrasts with conventional anthropological understandings of how small scenarios (social situations) and paradigmatic social events (rituals) speak to broader processes, this piece argues for an analytical recasting of the "event" as a moment in which cultural creativity is harnessed to the tasks of effecting and legitimizing the social transformations that crises often demand. Such "events" affirm the continuity of social groups even as they participate in the re-organization of social practice and are thus ultimately relevant to any anthropology of actors who confront and seek to effect change.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1518
Print ISSN
0003-5491
Pages
pp. 315-327
Launched on MUSE
2005-06-06
Open Access
N
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.