“Lying is done with words and also with silence.” –Adrienne Rich

The March meeting of the ethnography reading group will deal with lying: the (sometimes necessary) constitution of false statements, deliberately presented as being true. Why and when do ethnographers fib? What do we do when we think the interlocutor prevaricates? And who can tell?

Two texts will provide the academic framing of this discussion. One is the text ‘ten lies of ethnography’, by Gary Fine, published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, but also posted on the web as the text of a keynote address to QUIG Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies Conference in 1992.

Along with this piece, Peter Metcalf’s book will be grounds for discussing lying in ethnographic relationships and in the presentation of the ethnographer.


3 responses to ““Lying is done with words and also with silence.” –Adrienne Rich

  1. hi! very sharp discussion! That brings me another question that usually we don’t talk about: humour in the field!

  2. Good point, Elisenda. On that topic, I read ‘portraits of the white man’ as a student, and that really stuck out from the rest of our anthropological reading list, because it did address playing and joking.

  3. Pingback: Lying is done… Part Two « VKS Ethnography

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