This article is a contribution to the growing literature that suggests that
the methodological and writing practices of anthropology are out of kilter with the
times. The processual structures and regulative mechanisms that produce anthropological
knowledge were formed when objection and engagement were not the
almost-inevitable consequence of publication. Those who inform anthropological
research now frequently object to the ways they are represented. My argument
here focuses particularly on the relationship between the ethical structures of anthropology
and the nature of objection. Thus far, the consistent response from anthropologists
has been to explain away objections as differences in epistemology.
In this light, I draw on an objection to my own research on postdisaster reconstruction
in India to ask why there should not be disagreement between anthropologists
and those who inform research. I also illustrate why the epistemological
explanation is now insufficient and why new structures of research and writing
might be required to make the leap from an age of objection.
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