How to Write Things

Fiction, Anthropology and Foreignness in Berlin

in Ethnologia Europaea
Francisco Martínez Universidad Andrés Bello

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Why can the anthropologist be a writer but not an author? This essay reflects on the possibility of conveying anthropological knowledge through creative writing while reconsidering ethnographical authorship and its audience. The research material is a fiction written by myself to evoke a particular structure of feeling bound to a specific location, contemporary Berlin. The story is not told, however, from the perspective of an ethnographer who masters expert knowledge, but from the partial view of a protagonist who appears as a lost, hopeless, and vulnerable figure. This anthropological fiction invites us to reconsider the boundary between academic knowledge production and creative writing, rising along questions about evidence, representation and how our research could reach a general audience.

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