Exchanging Skin

Making a Science of the Relation between Bolivip and Barth

in Social Analysis
Author: Tony Crook 1
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  • 1 University of St Andrews tc23@st-andrews.ac.uk
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This article proposes a theory of what knowledge is and a method of how knowledge comes about. To separate epistemology from knowledge provides the starting point for questioning epistemology in two ways. Firstly, the analytical relations by which anthropologists claim that they have gained ethnographic knowledge are examined and compared to the claims to knowledge made by male initiates in Bolivip, Papua New Guinea. Secondly, these aesthetics of epistemology are compared with the social relations by which anthropologists and Bolivip men come to know through other persons. The article then takes up Wagner's 'relative objectivity' and considers how it enables an ethnographic comparative method between Bolivip and Barth's interpretive paradigm of 'secrecy'. Having unhinged epistemology from knowledge, the article closes by reconnecting them, with a different view of each appearing as a result.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology