The Ethics and Poetics of Reflexivity in Ethnography
Keywords:ethnography, reflexivity, writing, methodology, religion
This article discusses ethnographic writing on religion as a social process and encourages the adoption of reflexivity to be ethically and analytically sound, so that anthropologists are attuned to the politics of fieldwork and representation at work. It also examines the relationships cultivated between the author and reader on the page and the collaborative practice of ethnographic fieldwork. To do so, the article examines how the subject positions of researcher-interlocutor and author-reader are complicated in the field and in writing by discussing the author’s experiences during fieldwork and how she interpreted structures of feeling, bodily gestures, the conjuring of emotion, and affective atmospheres in her book on Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the author’s current research on whiteness and Christianity to encourage an intersectional approach to the examination of social hierarchies and religious identities so that race, class, gender, sexuality and other categories of difference are given attention in ethnographic writing on religion.
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