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The development of the dialogical approach, the autobiographical perspective and the central role of text-interpretation are all seen as characteristics of post-modern ethnography, arising from the daily chores of field research. The breakthrough into time and history, away from the timeless theorizing of structuralism and functinalism, is seen as inevitable when anthropology is forced to think about its own epistemology. Another current concern is taken up with reflections on the politics of representing the other. In the later essays, he opposes post-modern fashions and re-asserts the need to continue with a truly critical agenda.
This collection of essays spans twenty years of the author's intense engagement with modern thought and the problems of ethnography, and from this singular perspective contributes to many issues of current debate in anthropology.