Strange tales from the road: A lesson learned in an epistemology for anthropology

Yoshinobu Ota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Anthropology, with its deep commitment to fieldwork, has produced, through the dialectics of learning and unlearning, a contradictory self-understanding of the nature of the knowledge it has produced: one that is driven by a search for certainty, on the one hand, and by a desire for surprise, on the other. This article narrates a genealogy of anthropological perspectives that derive from the latter desire, the one that aims to undermine constantly that which is taken for granted. It shows how this perspective-often underappreciated these days in places where anthropological knowledge has been required to legitimate itself on an activist ground-has affected the way in which the author, a Japanese anthropologist, understands his fieldwork experience in Guatemala.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-206
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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