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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Meditation in Modern Buddhism: Renunciation and Change in Thai Monastic Life by Joanna Cook (Cambridge University Press) In contemporary Thai Buddhism, the burgeoning popularity of vipassanā meditation is dramatically impacting the lives of those most closely involved with its practice: monks and mae chee (lay nuns) living in monastic communities. For them, meditation becomes a central focus of life and a way to transform the self. This ethnographic account of a thriving Northern Thai monastery examines meditation in detail, and explores the subjective signification of monastic duties and ascetic practices. Drawing on fieldwork done both as an analytical observer and as a full participant in the life of the monastery, Joanna Cook analyzes the motivation and experience of renouncers, and shows what effect meditative practices have on individuals and community organization. The particular focus on the status of mae chee - part lay, part monastic - provides a fresh insight into social relationships and gender hierarchy within the context of the monastery. More

Beyond Writing Culture: Current Intersections of Epistemologies and Practices of Representation edited by Olaf Zenker, Karsten Kumoll (Integration and Conflict Studies: Berghahn Books ) `This is a book that will attract a great deal of attention among anthropologists and social scientists in general. It is a great advance on earlier critiques of Writing Culture (1986) that have emerged at intervals, a large number of them cited by the contributors. Its strength lies particularly in its transdisciplinary perspectives and the clarity of both critique and new representations. The prologue is a tour de force. — Joan Vincent, Professor Emerita, Barnard College/Columbia University

Two decades after the publication of Clifford and Marcus' volume Writing Culture (University of California Press), this collection provides a fresh and diverse reassessment of the debates that this pioneering volume unleashed. At the same time, Beyond Writing Culture moves the debate on by embracing the more fundamental challenge as to how to conceptualize the intricate relationship between epistemology and representational practices rather than maintaining the original narrow focus on textual analysis. It thus offers a thought-provoking tapestry of new ideas relevant for scholars not only concerned with `the ethnographic Other', but with representation in general.

Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography : A School of American Research, Advanced Seminar edited by James Clifford , George E. Marcus (University of California Press) a group of experienced ethnographers, a literary critic, and a historian of anthropology, all known for advanced analytic work on ethnographic writing, place ethnography at the center of a new intersection of social history, interpretive anthropology, travel writing, discourse theory, and textual criticism. The authors analyze classic examples of cultural description, from Goethe and Catlin to Malinowski, Evans-Pritchard, and Le Roy Ladurie, showing the persistence of allegorial patterns and rhetorical tropes. They assess recent experimental trends and explore the functions of orality, ethnicity, and power in ethnographic composition. Writing Culture argues that ethnography is in the midst of a political and epistemological crisis: Western writers no longer portray non-Western peoples with unchallenged authority; the process of cultural representation is now inescapably contingent, historical, and contestable. The essays in this volume help us imagine a fully dialectical ethnography acting powerfully in the postmodern world system. They challenge all writers in the humanities and social sciences to rethink the poetics and politics of cultural invention.

OLAF ZENKER is Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He did his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle on the Irish language and identity in Catholic West Belfast. His publications focus on conflict and identity formations, including a study on communicative constructions of group membership among homeless people: Techniken zur kommunikativen Herstellung von Gruppenzugehörigkeit (Berlin, 2004).

KARSTEN KUMOLL is Programme Manager at the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat), advising the Federal and State (Lander) governments on the system of higher education and research. He obtained his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Freiburg. Its subject was Marshall Sahlins' complete works and it was subsequently published as: Kultur, Geschichte and die Indigenisierung der Moderne: Eine Analyse des Gesamtwerks Von Marshall Sahlins (Bielefeld, 2007).

Excerpt: The publication of James Clifford and George E. Marcus's volume Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography  (Clifford and Marcus 1986) has been represented in anthropology and beyond 'as something of a watershed in anthropological thought', as Allison James, Jenny Hockey and Andrew Dawson wrote a decade ago in their introduction to After Writing Culture (James, Hockey and Dawson 1997a: 1). In highlighting the epistemic and political predicaments adhering in ethnographic representation, Writing Culture indeed marked an important turn within anthropology, variously described as 'literary' (e.g., Scholte 1987), 'reflexive' (e.g., McCarthy 1992: 636), 'postmodern' (e.g., Wagner 1986: 99), deconstructive' (e.g., Sangren 1988: 405) or 'poststructural (e.g., Nichols 1988: 57). The subsequent debate broadened to function as an important `crystallization of uncertainties about anthropology's subject matter (traditionally, "the other"), its method (traditionally, participant observation), its medium (traditionally, the monograph) and its intention (traditionally that of informing rather than practice)' (James, Hockey and Dawson 1997a: 2). Given its impact on the discipline as a whole, few anthropologists today would deny that the volume has, in fact, come to be what Scholte (1987: 34) presaged in his review: Writing Culture has become a (post)modern 'classic' in anthropology.

Looking back with a historicizing gaze, the mid 1980s indeed appear as a kairos — a right and opportune moment — for an endeavour like Writing Culture and its companion volume Anthropology as Cultural Critique (Marcus and Fischer 1986), which itself evoked such a temporality in its subtitle, 'an experimental moment in the human sciences'. While it remains debatable whether Writing Culture and concomitant texts actually delivered a timely fulfilment (kairosis), this kairos nevertheless contributed to establishing the edition as 'both the culmination of earlier developments in the profession and the sign-post of a new era in the discipline' (Bunzl 1999: 260). Writing Culture thereby elaborated on earlier debates within the anthropological profession on objectivity, colonialism, reflexivity and literary sensibility, to mention but a few. At the same time, the edition also outlined alternative paths for anthropological scholarship that have also been absorbed and developed within various anthropological sub-fields and paradigms.

In the following, we briefly trace some of the dominant threads of debate that preceded and prepared the way for Writing Culture. Afterwards, we sketch the dominant positions in the subsequent debate on Writing Culture as well as some of the further impacts the volume turned out to have on various strands of anthropological thought. This discussion of some of the more important developments 'after' Writing Culture is subsequently followed by and to some extent contrasted with an overview of some of the general themes of Writing Culture itself. In reaching a final characterization of the volume only after pursuing a diachronic analysis of its intertextuality, we do not mean to imply any sort of telos. Rather, by first examining the context out of which Writing Culture emerged and into which it was grafted, and only later discussing the actual contents of the volume, we hope to provide a means of explaining the volume's success. Put differently, we hope this approach will show how it is that Writing Culture both met and made its kairos.

Against this backdrop, the second part of this chapter suggests the ways in which the present volume is meant to move 'beyond Writing Culture'. In our brief introduction to each of the chapters included in this volume, we elaborate on how these texts open different doors beyond Writing Culture, how they address the `worldliness' of representations, and how they handle the `recursivity' of the representational process, in that 'theorizing' about intersections between epistemology and representational practice inexorably entails already 'realizing' such intersections.

Writing Culture and Beyond Writing Culture

One anthropological paradigm that highly influenced Writing Culture was Clifford Geertz's interpretive anthropology, which opened the discipline to the paradigmatic innovations taking place in literature departments at that time. Whereas Geertz's ethnographic studies in the early 1960s had been largely influenced by modernization theory, from the mid 1960s onward he began to write a series of essays in which he developed his well-known interpretive theory of culture (Geertz 1973, 1983), 'insisting that human social life is a matter of meaningful activity only very imperfectly studied through the objectifying methods of (certain kinds of) science' (Ortner 1997: 1). Geertz paved the way for blurring the lines between, on the one hand, a rising interest in poststructuralism, deconstructionism, and literary studies and, on the other, a growing epistemologically and politically motivated scepticism in anthropology concerning ways of 'doing' anthropological research.

While his own anthropological essays were not extended experiments in ethnographic writing, Geertz nevertheless contributed to a growing interest within anthropology about the ethnographic text itself. Of additional importance was Hayden White's Metahistory (1973) in which he examined the literary and tropological grounding of historical scholarship. In 'Ethnographies as Texts', George E. Marcus and Dick Cushman observed 'a growing trend of experimentation in ethnographic writing, largely as a philosophically informed reaction to the genre conventions of ethnographic realism' (Marcus and Cushman 1982: 25), by which they meant 'a mode of writing that seeks to represent the reality of a whole world or form of life' (ibid.: 29). At that time, they could already point to several ethnographies that explored new modes of ethnographic representation. Within the paradigm of dialogical anthropology, for instance, the person of the fieldworker and their interaction with other people in the field played an important role.' Dialogical forms of ethnographic writing also sought to transcend earlier forms of ethnographic reasoning in which personal experiences 'in the field' were textually separated from 'scientific' ethnographies (see also Clifford 1983).

New experimental forms of ethnographic writing were also informed by the growing importance of `poststructuralism' and 'postmodernism'. While Claude Levi-Strauss's structuralist theory had modernized anthropological theory in the 1960s (e.g., Levi-Strauss 1966), by the 1980s it seemed as outdated as Radcliffe-Brownian structural-functionalism. Not that structuralism had lost its appeal completely. In American anthropology, for instance, Marshall Sahlins was still developing a structuralist theory of action (Sahlins 1981, 1985). In France, Pierre Bourdieu (1977) developed his highly influential 'theory of practice' as an attempt to synthesize the approaches of Levi-Strauss, Durkheim, Weber and Marx. In general, however, structuralism seemed to be on the way out, giving rise to various modes of postmodern and poststructuralist reasoning.2 According to Sahlins, 'Structural inversions were in the intellectual air' in the mid 1960s (Sahlins 2000: 24); by the 1980s, however, these inversions seemed to have been dissolved into a fundamental decomposition of Western logocentrism, promoted not only by Derrida and his followers in literary criticism and beyond, but also by other philosophical mavericks like Richard Rorty (1979).

This growing interest in postmodernism and poststructuralism was complemented by various intellectual movements within anthropology and related disciplines that played an important role in reconfiguring the epistemological and political groundings of the discipline. Examples include the rise of the Birmingham school of Cultural Studies (e.g., Hall 1980), the growing importance of feminist scholarship (e.g., Rosaldo and Lamphere 1974; MacCormack and Strathern 1980), and the political critique of colonialism (e.g., Horowitz 1967; Asad 1973; Solovey 2001). Durirtg the 1960s and 1970s a reflexive awareness emerged that the process of doing anthropology could be embedded in various overarching power asymmetries between Western and non-Western life-worlds. Partly as a reaction to this situation, world systems analysis and political economy investigated the international division of labour and power asymmetries within the 'world system' with renewed verve (Wolf 1971, 1982; Wallerstein 1974). Marxists influenced by Althusser tried to apply Marx's ideas to non-capitalist societies in order to work out ideology, exploitation and power.3 Within economic anthropology, Marxian approaches became important alternatives to the schools of formalism and substantivism.

The emerging field of 'postcolonial studies' also contributed to a critique of international power asymmetries and colonialism. Edward Said (1978) argued that, far from being only a discipline with academic institutions, 'orientalism' should be understood as a complex discourse within Western societies and as a general style of thought and domination based upon epistemological and ontological distinctions made between 'orient' and 'occident'. Said's work — itself infused with Marxism, Foucault's discourse analysis, Gramsci's notion of hegemony, and Fanon's early critique of colonialism — served as a powerful epistemological critique of 'Western' representations of 'non-Western' life-worlds and contributed to the emerging 'crisis of representation' within anthropology, exemplified, for instance, in Johannes Fabian's timely study, Time and the Other (1983).

Reactions to 'That Damn Book'

Published in 1986 in a climate constituted and shaped by such intellectual developments, Writing Culture engendered a debate that rapidly took up a broader discussion of the intricate relationship between epistemology, politics, practices and styles of ethnographic representation. Reactions, ranging from wholesale agreement to near complete rejection, exhibited a tone that oscillated between hyping 'the Writing Culture crowd' (Handelman 1994: 348) as anthropology's 'new avant-garde' (McCarthy 1992: 636) and polemically condemning the 'millennial ideology' of these self-styled 'high priest[s]', dismissing their intervention as a careerist 'sleight-of-hand' (Sangren 1988: 409, 411).

Early reviews already began to open up this spectrum. Roy Wagner, while showing a degree of scepticism towards 'the postmodern project' (Wagner 1986: 99), still saw Writing Culture as a chance to raise anthropology's self-awareness. In a similar but more emphatic vein, Bob Scholte praised 'Writing Culture's undeniable historical interest to our discipline' and expressed a 'genuine respect for the detailed, imaginative, and suggestive analyses found in the Clifford & Marcus volume' (Scholte 1987: 38). At the same time, Scholte's praise was tempered by misgivings regarding the 'literary turn' in anthropology; he feared that 'politics may become merely academic — literally so' (ibid.: 44). Howard S. Becker (1987) also praised Writing Culture as an example of the rising postpositivism in the philosophical spirit of Rorty (1979). Becker's critique therefore mainly related to what he saw as a neglect of comparable experiences and attempts to address these issues within sociology and, in particular, 'contemporary work in the sociology of science' (Becker 1987: 27). Bill Nichols (1988) found the epistemological debates on ethnography in Writing Culture equally useful because they were, he argued, similar to certain discussions in film studies.

In contrast to reviewers who received Writing Culture rather positively as an important contribution, P. Steven Sangren excoriated the postmodern rhetoric of reflexivity as 'ultimately misleading and surprisingly "unreflexive" in ways that diminish both the legitimacy and the logic of the arguments it produces' (Sangren 1988: 406). By criticizing 'traditional' ethnographic works for establishing textual authority, hegemony and power, and by proclaiming to transcend this strategy, postmodernists, Sangren claimed, committed the very sin they decried. Sangren suggested instead that an epistemological totalization' with a broadened focus on the reproduction of society and culture as a whole allowed for a better form of reflexivity than the mere literary analysis of ethnographic texts. Writing Culture and the companion volume Anthropology as Cultural Critique had thus failed as `ethnography of ethnography', he argued, 'because they do not locate collective representations (texts) in the contexts within which they are produced and which they in turn are essential in reproducing' (ibid.: 422). Kevin K. Birth explicitly positioned his equally polemical critique as a continuation of Sangren's response. Arguing from the position of 'reader-response literary criticism,' Birth ultimately concluded that 'not only does Writing Culture's version of anthropology as cultural critique fail logically and pragmatically, it also fails ethically' (Birth 1990: 555).

Paul A. Roth also discussed the then-recent wave of literary analyses of ethnographic authority, which confused 'literary, epistemological, and political issues' (Roth 1989: 555). He primarily criticized texts like Writing Culture for being 'epistemologically innocuous since the charge of partiality applies to all positions' and complained that 'this union of epistemology and literary criticism' had spawned no new epistemological insights (ibid.: 561, 555). As had been the case before with Sangren's (1988) article, Roth's article in Current Anthropology was followed by responses, some of which were written by contributors to Writing Culture. These exchanges began to exhibit the increasingly typical positions in this debate. Stephen A. Tyler (1989), for instance, reiterated that he was simply not playing the game of 'representations' anymore.

In another influential critique, Jonathan Spencer pointed out that 'despite its trappings of political and intellectual radicalism', Writing Culture was 'in some of its presuppositions a depressingly reactionary document' (Spencer 1989: 145). Spencer complained that within Writing Culture 'there is the abandonment of any consideration of problems of validation' (ibid.: 159). These, he argued, were subsumed under the term 'authority', which was characterized 'as a literary rather than a practical issue' (ibid.: 159). Furthermore, many contributors to Writing Culture assumed 'that texts can be wholly decontextualized and compared as formal objects, stripped of history and living in a social vacuum' (ibid.: 160). In addition, Spencer was afraid 'that the book will provoke a trend away from doing anthropology, and towards ever more barren criticism and meta-criticism' (ibid.: 161).

Likewise addressing the issue of decontextualization, Tony Free also focused on Writing Culture's preoccupation with 'texts', which entailed a 'bracketing and ignoring' of 'the world' in three important facets: first, the world of 'the reader'; second, 'the world in which it [the text] is written'; and third, 'the world about or of which it is written' (Free 1990: 52). Arguing from a position primarily informed by phenomenology, Richard Sutcliffe aptly summarized his primary criticism by stating that 'it is not so much that members of the Writing Culture school are completely wrong — they do draw attention to problems, if not quite a "crisis", of representation — it is more that they are too late to be novel and, what is worse, they offer no genuine solutions to problems already recognized by others' (Sutcliffe 1993: 21). In questioning Writing Culture's 'case against science', Stephen P. Reyna argued that 'literary anthropologists know little, not because they have shown that little is knowable, but because they have chosen, without reason, not to know' (Reyna 1994: 576).

The remedies suggested by Writing Culture were the main issue of contention in Don Handelman's discussion. Handelman argued that Writing Culture's sceptical self-examination of anthropology and related experiments with innovative ethnographic writing styles had proven helpful to the discipline. However, important issues within this reflexivity debate were overlooked, most notably that 'fieldwork anthropology is unlike any of the humanities and other social sciences in that it is not a text-mediated discipline in the first place' (Handelman 1994: 341). Thus, rather than subjecting itself to a text-based literary deconstruction from outside the discipline, Handelman argued that anthropology should use its unique pre-textual potential for a self-critique that emerged from its struggling 'with the turning of subjects into objects rather than the turning of objects into subjects' (ibid.: 341).

Another fundamental line of criticism put forward against Writing Culture was advanced by various feminist writers. Frances Mascia-Lees, Patricia Sharpe and Colleen Ballerino Cohen, for example, argued rather dismissively that 'what appear to be new and exciting insights to these new postmodernist anthropologists ... are insights that have received repeated and rich exploration in feminist theory for the past forty years' (Mascia-Lees, Sharpe and Cohen 1989: 11). The same authors further criticized Writing Culture as well as Anthropology as Cultural Critique for dismissing feminist theory altogether, regardless of its insights for generating new forms of ethnographic writing and practice. In their reading, postmodern anthropologists thereby established and maintained unequal power relations within anthropology by downplaying feminism in favour of a male-dominated 'postmodern' ethnographic paradigm (ibid.: 16-17). In a somewhat similar vein, Ruth' Behar (1993) summarized one of the prime feminist criticisms of Writing Culture, targeting Clifford's justification (Clifford 1986a: 21-22) of the absence of feminist perspectives in his introduction to the volume. Behar argued that according to Clifford's vision, 'to be a woman writing culture is a contradiction in terms: women who write experimentally can't seem to be feminist enough, while women who write as feminists write in ignorance of the textual theory that underpins their own texts' (Behar 1993: 309).

Despite these and other arguments addressing issues related to Writing Culture, the 'debate' as such nevertheless to some degree cooled down from the early 1990s onwards. This was evidenced by public statements like that of Maryon McDonald who wrote that she was 'already tired of Clifford and Marcus' collection Writing Culture' and the endless moaning about 'every novelty-claiming and enthusing espousal' of the edition (McDonald 1991: 19, 20). Nonetheless, 'modernist critiques' (Spiro 1996) and further attacks on Writing Culture continued to be launched a decade or more after the publication of the volume. For instance, Adam Kuper, echoing Spencer's critique, argued that 'the postmodernist movement has had a paralysing effect on the discipline of anthropology. It denies the possibility of a cross-cultural, comparative anthropology' (Kuper 1999: 223). Kuper further argued that the consequence of the Geertzian programme of the 'blurring' of different academic genres 'was to subordinate the theoretical concerns of cultural anthropology to those of the mainstream disciplines in the humanities' at that time — that is, literature and art (ibid.: 224).

The overall cooling down of the Writing Culture debate, however, may perhaps best be illustrated with reference to the edition After Writing Culture (James, Hockey and Dawson 1997b), which received much less attention than Writing Culture. This may have been the case because, as Matti Bunzl argued, `few today dispute the poetic and fictive qualities of ethnographic texts, while the invariable situatedness of ethnographic knowledge can hardly be called an issue of great contention' (Bunzl 1999: 261). Bunzl further pointed out that 'such an emphasis on the representational dimensions of anthropological knowledge production can hardly constitute a coherent body of analysis', because `representation, in and of itself, can hardly serve as a viable unifying theme' (ibid.: 261). In contrast to this position, Clifford (1999) and Marcus (1999) each welcomed the publication in their respective reviews as part of a continuing debate on 'the poetics and politics of ethnography' that was, as Clifford characterized it, 'integral to contemporary work' (Clifford 1999: 644).

After Writing Culture

Beyond eliciting immediate reactions, Writing Culture also influenced, albeit in a more mediated manner, other important developments in anthropology. A brief and fragmentary elaboration of a few of these developments can contribute to an assessment of the overall reception of the volume. We should stress, however, that this exercise is difficult in methodological terms because common concerns and systematic equivalences cannot always be attributed to common intellectual genealogies. Keeping this in mind, we want to draw attention to elements of discussions about globalization, feminism, postcolonialism and the changing contours of ethnographic practice that, as we see it, profited from Writing Culture. First of all, however, a short look at Clifford Geertz's interpretive anthropology seems to be in order because this approach played such a central role in shaping the intellectual project that was to become Writing Culture.

Writing Culture could be characterized as a radicalization of Geertz's interpretative anthropology, 'but stripped of all reservations' (Kuper 1999: 206). This radicalization involved a serious critique of Geertz's interpretive programme. In particular, Geertz's writing style was criticized for a lack of the reflexive sensibility that was considered to be one of the central objectives of Writing Culture and various new forms of experimental ethnography (Crapanzano 1986; Gottowik 1997; Marcus 1997).6 Thus it is interesting to recall that Geertz himself interpreted other anthropological works as literary enterprises in Works and Lives (Geertz 1988). Here, however, a certain ambivalence towards the literary and self-reflexive orientation of 'postmodern' ethnography was clearly visible. Works and Lives was concerned with a literary analysis of written ethnographic texts; at the same time, Geertz showed no interest in analysing his own work. Still, Geertz argued that Writing Culture and his own Works and Lives 'did induce a certain self-awareness, and a certain candor also, into a discipline not without need of them' (Geertz 2002: 11). Concerning experimental forms of ethnographic writing, however, Geertz remained sceptical. In Works and Lives he noted that the `experimental' movement in ethnographic writing contributed to a sort of `epistemological hypochondria' in the field (Geertz 1988: 71).

The same ambivalence towards postmodernism in anthropology is visible in Geertz's essay 'The World in Pieces' (Geertz 2000: 218-63) in which he tried to find a middle ground between the dissolution of 'culture' and a model of cultural homogeneity. As this brief account suggests, Geertz's interpretive anthropology changed significantly over the years, partly in response to the postmodern critique in anthropology and partly in response to the anthropological critique of the culture concept, a move that was itself influenced by Writing Culture and subsequent discussions of the book.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the critique of the culture concept in anthropology reached new heights. Much of this critique, also coming from political economy and practice theory, was not directly related to the attacks on `culture' explicated in Writing Culture. However, Writing Culture marked an important step in the rising postmodern critique of 'culture' and thereby contributed to subsequent anthropological elaborations of the culture concept (e.g., Thornton 1988). Further developing his arguments from his introduction to Writing Culture in a series of related articles, Clifford (1992) pointed out that anthropologists invented boundaries around 'cultures' by 'localizing strategies' that were related to the exclusion of intercultural interaction from the writing of ethnographies. Clifford suggested that the anthropological concept of culture should perhaps be replaced by a Foucauldian 'vision of powerful discursive formations globally and strategically deployed. Such entities would at least no longer be closely tied to notions of organic unity, traditional continuity, and the enduring grounds of language and locale' (Clifford 1988a: 274).

Arjun Appadurai located the problem of the anthropological culture concept in 'its implication that culture is some kind of object, thing, or substance, whether physical or metaphysical' (Appadurai 1996: 12). Lila Abu-Lughod ingeniously modified the volume's title in her attempt to 'write against culture' by arguing that the culture concept was 'the essential tool for making other. As a professional discourse that elaborates on the meaning of culture in order to account for, explain, and understand cultural difference, anthropology also helps construct, produce, and maintain it' (Abu-Lughod 1991: 143). In 1995, Robert Brightman could thus observe that such 'terminological items as "habitus", "hegemony", and "discourse" are increasingly opposed to "culture" as new concept to old, as useful to defective' (Brightman 1995: 510).

The discussion about 'writing against culture's was closely linked to debates on `cultural hybridity' as well as debates on cultural globalization wherein traditional notions of culture were seriously called into question." In working out new models, anthropologists aimed to capture a sense of this changing, seemingly disjunctive new world in which the local and the global could no longer be properly separated from each other (see Marcus 1998b).'2 As Henrietta Moore argued, the changing configurations of cultural globalization thereby altered the building of theory and epistemology in anthropology, replacing older notions of part/whole relationships with radically new 'concept-metaphors' and 'pre-theoretical commitments' that `may emerge from the bio, medical, and information sciences' (Moore 2004: 86). Writing Culture and the many debates surrounding the book to some degree directly influenced discussions of cultural globalization as some of the contributors to the volume extended the arguments they presented in the book in subsequent work on globalization and the changing contours of 'culture'. Furthermore, Writing Culture indirectly influenced debates about cultural globalization through its postmodern critique of 'traditional' anthropological concepts, which also came under fire in the anthropology of globalization. But whereas Writing Culture primarily focused on the written text, the growing anthropology of globalization was more concerned with the 'real world', which proved to be far too complex to be analysed with `traditional' concepts of culture.

Anthropological discourses centred on cultural globalization and the epistemological fallacies of representation were also related to postcolonial scholarship in complex ways, calling into question the very idea of autonomous academic genres. For example, the 'writing against culture' critique was influenced by Said's Orientalism (1978; see Varisco 2004: 107-110). Furthermore, Said's postcolonial theory had itself been an important inspiration to the literary movement in anthropology (see Prakash 1995: 209). Said himself was rather sympathetic to reflexive, postmodern strands in anthropology (Said 1989: 208), while at the same time critical of 'revisionist anthropological currents' by anthropologists such as Sahlins (1985) and Wolf (1982) because they left 'the problematic of the observer' underanalysed (Said I 989: 212). Although it is often difficult to reconstruct intellectual linkages and genealogies between postmodernism in anthropology and postcolonial scholarship, at the least it can be observed that many postcolonial thinkers worked on themes that were complementary to the Writing Culture critique." This is not altogether surprising as Writing Culture itself was already influenced by Said's critique of 'orientalism'. Postcolonial theory aimed to shift the prevailing ways in which the relation between Western and non-Western peoples were considered and investigated (Young 2003: 2). It sought to 'provincialize Europe' (Chakrabarty 2000) through varied deconstructions of Western metanarratives and epistemologies. Postcolonial scholars frequently focused on the deconstruction of established `realist' epistemologies, showed a literary and deconstructive attitude towards theory-building, and furthered a political sensibility for changing world-historical `colonial' and 'postcolonial circumstances.

Postcolonialism was frequently criticized for its seemingly textualist orientation, its exportation of French 'high theory' into cultural analysis, and its concomitant exclusion of material realities 'on the ground'. Above all, postcolonialism was dismissed as an egoistic enterprise that primarily furthered the academic careers of postcolonial 'pop-stars' and, at the same time, reproduced unequal power relations in society and academia (see Ahmad 1992). Interestingly, as we have already shown, Writing Culture was criticized for similar reasons. In a way, this critique was echoed by the emerging field of cultural studies of Oceania which argued that anthropological representations of Oceanic cultures and life-worlds stabilize a neocolonial world order dominated by the West (see Wood 2003, 2006 for useful overviews). However, it has been precisely postcolonial scholarship that strengthened a reflexive sensibility to the production of scientific knowledge within overarching intercultural fields of power relations (Tsing 1993; Spivak 1999). Furthermore, 'Western' scholars actively engage in continuing dialogues with 'non-Western' intellectuals on the study of cultural change, history and the legacies of colonialism (see Borofsky 2000). Recent approaches suggesting such a move include research into 'indigenous articulations' (Clifford 2001), the anthropology of colonialism (Pels 1997), the rebuilding of anthropological theory on postmodern and postcolonial grounds (Mutman 2006), and the relationship between globalization and 'postcoloniality' (Gikandi 2001)."

As we already noted, Writing Culture has been heavily criticized for its extensive exclusion of feminism. After the publication of Writing Culture, however, anthropology benefited from various interventions ranging from a postmodern or deconstructionist ethnographic style to feminist anthropology on the Other. One such project that was influenced by Writing Culture and at the same time sought to overcome Clifford's and Marcus's exclusion of feminism was Women Writing Culture, edited by Ruth Behar and Deborah A. Gordon (1995). This project not only sought to cope with the exclusion of feminism in Writing Culture but also aimed to incorporate critiques by women of colour and lesbians of the white, middle-class presuppositions of mainstream feminism. The various contributors to Women Writing Culture tried to reappraise anthropological traditions on feminist grounds, to rework current anthropological theories from feminist perspectives, and to reflect on the complex and intersecting relationships between gender, power, marginalization and exclusion in academia and beyond. The rising interest in 'women writing culture' was also exemplified by a volume with the same title containing interviews with leading intellectuals on the relationships between and intersections of writing, feminism, power, rhetoric and cultural change (Olson and Hirsh 1995). Publications like Behar and Gordon's Women Writing Culture signalled a more mediated confrontation of feminism with Writing Culture and its limitations, thereby enabling more complex and original frames of research combining feminist, poststructural and critical research agendas.

Writing Culture was enormously influential in changing writing styles and research practices and in the development of new experimental forms of ethnography (Poewe 1996). These experimental forms have included the further development of 'dialogical anthropology' (Tedlock 1987), 'narrative ethnography' (Tedlock 1991), and 'collaborative ethnography'. In a series of papers, Lassiter (2001, 2005) argued that collaborative ethnography sought to extend the ethnographic trope of 'dialogue' to its next step: the active collaboration of researchers and subjects in the production of anthropological texts, thus extending 'Fieldwork collaboration more systematically into the writing of the actual ethnography' (Lassiter 2005: 84). From the perspective of Tyler's postmodern anthropology, these approaches may be criticized as hopeless attempts at recapturing a vanishing sense of ethnographic authenticity (Tyler 1987, 1989). However, Tyler's radical deconstruction of ethnographic style has not proven as influential as diverging modes of dialogical, polyphonic and autobiographical writing styles.

These diverging modes of ethnographic writing signal, as Marilyn Strathern (1987) has argued, new relationships between writer, audience and subject of research that deviate from a modernist writing style that creates a distance between the society that is studied, the society to which the anthropologist's audience belongs, and the anthropologist that mediates between the two contexts: `If anthropologists write now about "other peoples", they are writing for subjects who have become an audience' (ibid.: 269). By doing this, anthropologists today have to solve the same technical problem as writers such as Frazer and Malinowski. Anthropologists apply 'specific literary strategies, the construction of a persuasive fiction: a monograph must be laid out in such a way that it can convey novel compositions of ideas' (ibid.: 257). What counts as persuasive may change dramatically over time; this, in turn, is linked to the identification and interpretation of the discipline's great epistemological shifts, for example the shift between Frazer and modernist anthropology, but also 'the alleged shift from modernism to postmodernism in the 1980s': 'we create historic shifts between past writers in terms persuasive to our own ears, thereby participating in a postmodern history, reading back into books the strategies of fictionalisation' (ibid.: 269).

Concerning the ethnographic practice of doing fieldwork, George E. Marcus has argued that:

The Writing Culture critique was absorbed positively by anthropologists, but its implications were contained by the idea that it dealt only with writing, with strategies for composing ethnographic texts, thus leaving fieldwork — the true experiential core of the discipline — untouched. I always believed, however, that the most substantial implication of the critique was for the fieldwork process. (Marcus 2002: 192)

In Marcus's view, ethnography 'moves from its conventional single-site location, contextualized by macro-constructions of a larger social order, such as the capitalist world system, to multiple sites of observation and participation that cross-cut dichotomies such as the "local" and the "global"' (Marcus 1995: 95). In a similar vein, James Clifford saw the growing importance of 'postcolonial mobility' and diasporic routes' (Clifford 2001: 477). The changing relationships between 'roots' and 'routes' may alter ethnographic fieldwork, 'with short, repeated visits the norm and fully supported research years rare' (Clifford 1997: 90). Last but not least, recent developments in ethnographic practice have led to a growing interest in doing 'anthropology at home' (see Peirano 1998).

The Text Itself

Having traced some of the prior developments that set the scene for Writing Culture and provided a short synopsis of the diverse reactions to the book, as well as having finally tracked of some of the edition's more mediated impacts, we may now consider the text itself.

In its afterword, Marcus characterized Writing Culture as a kind of 'literary therapy' aimed at introducing 'a literary consciousness to ethnographic practice by showing various ways in which ethnographies can be read and written' (Marcus 1986b: 262). Clifford accordingly framed this overall project in his introduction to the volume, when he highlighted that the collected essays began 'not with participant-observation or with cultural texts (suitable for interpretation), but with writing, the making of texts' (Clifford 1986a: 2). Far from remaining a marginal or insignificant issue, the 'close analysis of one of the principle things ethnographers do — that is, write' (ibid.: 24) was henceforth to be central.

In rejecting the clear-cut Western distinction between fictional literature and factual science, Clifford insisted on the inseparable nature of the literary, poetic and rhetorical on the one hand and the factual on the other in ethnographic representations. The collected essays were thus unified in rejecting the older objectivist ideology 'claiming transparency of representation and immediacy of experience' (ibid.: 2). Instead, ethnographies were to be seen as 'true fictions', drawing on the word's Latin root (fingere) in the sense of 'something made or fashioned'. However, it was also crucial to 'preserve the meaning not merely of making, but also of making up, of inventing things not actually real' (ibid.: 6). Instead of being simply opposed to truth, the notion of ethnographic 'fiction' thus rather suggested 'the partiality of cultural and historical truths', in that 'all constructed truths were made possible by powerful "lies" of exclusion and rhetoric' (ibid.: 6, 7). It was in this sense, Clifford insisted, that the collected essays kept the oxymoron 'true fictions' sharp (ibid.: 6). (In a way, the question of whether this notion of 'true fictions' can be meaningfully maintained as a 'sharp oxymoron' or whether, when all is said and done, it necessarily dissolves epistemologically into a tautological truism epitomizes a crucial point of contention for the whole debate).

Clifford stressed that anthropology's ability to represent others had come under fire both through the powerful political critique of postcolonialism on the one hand and the epistemological undermining of scientific positivism and objectivity by a plethora of theoretical perspectives on the other. He further claimed that these critiques entailed a shift from a visual to a discursive conception of the ethnographic encounter. This shift, Clifford argued, had been accompanied by changes in ethnographic styles of representation that increasingly questioned the separation of authorial subjectivity from the objective referent of the text, turning instead towards dialogism and polyphony. While being generally in favour of such dialogic and polyphonic ways of writing, Clifford also cautioned the reader against the ideal of the scientific accumulation of facts by arguing that in addressing certain partialities, newly occupied positions necessarily produced their own partialities. That said, Clifford nevertheless insisted that the collected essays aimed at 'new, better modes of writing' and at an ethnographic poetics that could still be 'historical, precise, objective' and did not 'give up facts and accurate accounting' (ibid.: 25, 26).

Clifford wrote that most of the essays in Writing Culture, 'while focusing on textual practices, reach beyond texts to contexts of power, resistance, institutional constraint, and innovation' (ibid.: 2). While questions of politics and epistemology thus always lurked just below the surface, the primary focal point of the volume nevertheless remained the rhetorical dimensions of others' ethnographies as texts. This applied to Clifford's own chapter, 'On Ethnographic Allegory', in which he sought to work out the allegorical nature of ethnographic writing. Clifford argued that ethnography could be seen 'as a performance emplotted by powerful stories' which 'simultaneously describe real cultural events and make additional, moral, ideological, and even cosmological statements' (Clifford 1986b: 98). Recognition of the inescapably allegorical nature of ethnographic writing thereby highlighted its 'political and ethical dimensions' and complicated it 'in potentially fruitful ways' (ibid.: 120).

Vincent Crapanzano's contribution, 'Hermes' Dilemma: The Masking of Subversion in Ethnographic Description', likened the ethnographer to Hermes, the messenger of the gods: both were concerned with rendering the foreign familiar while preserving its foreignness, and both were confronted with the difficulty of making their message convincing while pretending that the truth of the message spoke for itself. Crapanzano then concentrated on this last aspect in analysing the use of rhetorical devices in three ethnographic texts as means for such persuasion. He suggested that in all three cases 'the very figures the authors use to convince their readers — and themselves — of their descriptions in fact render them suspect, and in all three cases this failure to convince is covered by an institutionally legitimated concern for meaning' (Crapanzano 1986: 53).

In her chapter, 'Fieldwork in Common Places', Marie Louise Pratt also explored the poetics of anthropology, concentrating on various tropes of ethnographic writing and how they were derived from earlier discursive traditions. She focused on the relationship within ethnography between impersonal description and personal narrative and 'the history of this discursive configuration, notably its history in travel writing' (Pratt 1986: 28). Pratt suggested that acknowledging one's tropes as 'neither natural nor, in many cases, native to the discipline' allowed for a self-liberation, 'not by doing away with tropes (which is not possible) but by appropriating and inventing new ones (which is)' (ibid.: 50). In 'From the Door of His Tent: The Fieldworker and the Inquisitor', Renato Rosaldo attempted to develop 'an anatomy of ethnographic rhetoric by exploring modes of authority and representation' (Rosaldo 1986: 77) in Evans-Pritchard's The Nuer and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's Montaillou. Rosaldo contended that representations of the Nuer and late medieval French shepherds as idealized pastoralists within the genre of the 'pastoral' covered up issues of dominance and power underlying the courtly politeness of this literary form.

Various explorations in Writing Culture not only brought forward criticisms of pre-existing representational styles but also made pleas for new experimental forms. The most radical suggestion was presented by Stephen Tyler in his piece 'Post-Modern Ethnography: From Document of the Occult to the Occult Document'. In this 'generally unclassifiable' essay (Clifford and Marcus 1986a: viii), Tyler conjured 'post-modern ethnography' as 'a cooperatively evolved text consisting of fragments of discourse intended to evoke in the minds of both reader and writer an emergent fantasy of a possible world of commonsense reality, and thus to provoke an aesthetic integration that will have a therapeutic effect' (Tyler 1986: 125). Despite being somewhat at variance with Derrida (1973, 1976) in its celebration of orality, in its uncompromising gesture Tyler's chapter provided a clue as to what proper deconstructionist anthropology might look like.

In contrast, Talal Asad's discussion of The Concept of Cultural Translation in British Social Anthropology' provided a take on the issue of intercultural exchange that was more sceptical about the potential of experimental writing. Asad critically discussed Gellner's essay 'Concepts and Society' (Gellner 1970), dismissing the latter's critique as misconceiving the nature of cultural translation: `the anthropologist's translation is not merely a matter of matching sentences in the abstract, but of learning to live another form of life' (Asad 1986: 149, original emphasis). In highlighting the historically situated nature of translations, power asymmetries between languages became an urgent issue. While urging anthropologists to study institutionalized inequalities in order to evaluate 'the possibilities and the limits of effective translation', in light of such asymmetries, Asad doubted that 'individual experiments in modes of ethnographic representation' could be effective in overcoming them (ibid.: 164, 158).

In his discussion of 'Contemporary Problems of Ethnography in the Modern World System', George E. Marcus was equally concerned with global power relations, yet he saw stylistic experimentation as the most promising means of accounting for power. For Marcus, the current challenge in anthropology consisted in the question of how to engage the interpretative analysis of cultural meaning with the explanatory investigation of social action as well as the micro with the macro without misrepresenting `[t] he world of larger systems and events' as 'externally impinging on and bounding little worlds, but not being integral to them' (Marcus 1986a: 166). This challenge posed a problem of 'textual representation' rather than a problem of 'grand theoretical synthesis' (ibid.: 169). Accordingly, Marcus concentrated on two such modes of textual construction: on the one hand, narratives based on multi-sited ethnography (in which each site is understood to be interrelated) and, on the other, narratives based on strategically selected single locales (understood against the backdrop of a broader global system).

Michael M.J. Fischer's essay, 'Ethnicity and the Post-Modern Arts of Memory', aimed to reveal parallels between contemporary ethnic autobiographies and recent 'textual theories of deferred, hidden, or occulted meaning' (Fischer 1986: 194). Ethnographic writing could therefore be informed by both genres, given that each textual form suggested 'powerful modes for cultural criticism' (ibid.: 230). Through an analysis of a wide array of ethnic autobiographies from five 'hyphen-American' communities, Fischer derived a number of textual strategies for a postmodern arsenal: 'bifocality or reciprocity of perspectives, juxtapositioning of multiple realities, intertextuality and inter-referentiality, and comparison through families of resemblance' (ibid.: 230). Fischer contended that these techniques had the potential to contribute to a necessary 'renewed beginning' in anthropology, given that the discipline had not yet fulfilled its `promise of a fully bifocal cultural criticism' (ibid.: 233).

Finally, in 'Representations Are Social Facts: Modernity and Post-Modernity in Anthropology', Paul Rabinow demonstrated a number of implications following from his characterization of representations as social practices. In his critical reading of Clifford's own textual productions, Rabinow observed that Clifford's approach contained 'a refusal of self-reflection' in faulting others for textual omissions while making 'the same omission on another level' (1986: 251-52, 244). In addition, Clifford's position was shown to be ambiguous; on the one hand he stressed the superiority of dialogical and polyphonic modes of ethnographic representation, while also depicting all modes of representation as equal. Referring to Fredric Jameson's analysis of postmodern culture, Rabinow then 'socialized' Clifford's indecision as a symptom of (post)modernist textualism. Rabinow thereby drew attention to 'the politics of interpretation in the academy today' (ibid.: 253), in which experimental writing also had to be investigated in relation to academic careers. Rabinow observed that the new rhetoric of dialogue was advanced primarily by male experimentalists and was interpreted by feminists as yet another act of violence. This, argued Rabinow, underlined the need for analysing representations sociologically.

This cursory summary of the positions in the Writing Culture volume can now be used to highlight two points. First, 'the text itself' covered a quite broad and at times contradictory spectrum of positions, sequentially ordered in the book in a somewhat `general progression from studies with a literary bent towards those that question this emphasis' (Clifford and Marcus 1986a: viii). Asad and Rabinow in particular were openly sceptical, critically elaborating on possible implications of the (post)modernist obsession with textualism. Given this 'rather wide range of positions and problems', the editors and some of the contributors to Writing Culture reacted quite negatively to critiques and reviews that 'conflated [the book] into a single "postmodern" anthropology' (Fischer, Marcus and Tyler 1988: 426; see also Clifford 1988b).

On the other hand, the degree to which the positions advocated in the volume can be seen as varied is also in the eye of the beholder. Despite their variation, the contributions were still primarily engaged with textual and literary analysis. Thus, while the 1984 seminar that led to Writing Culture may have indeed pursued 'a limited set of emphases self-critically in an attempt to come to terms with the politics and poetics of cultural representation' (Clifford and Marcus 1986a: viii), the poetics of ethnography thereby took centre stage with political analysis and epistemological reflection being sidelined.

The limitations of this specific focus, 'stressing textual form and ... privileging textual theory' (Clifford 1986a: 21) were acknowledged by the editors themselves. Clifford and Marcus repeatedly highlighted the partiality of their account of `larger contexts of systematic power inequality, world-systems constraints, and institutional frameworks' (Clifford and Marcus 1986a: vii—viii) and characterized the overall approach as intrinsically 'partial' epistemologically as well as `contestable' in its concrete textualist 'bias' that somewhat evaded 'concrete institutional forces' (Clifford 1986a: 18, 21). However, we feel that a degree of (self-)deception was nevertheless at work in this representation of the volume by its editors. Much of the subsequent ado about Writing Culture arose precisely because of its tone and proclamation of novelty, its overarching rhetoric of demystification, and its promising pathos of transcending hitherto unacknowledged barriers in order to reach greener pastures of 'true' encounter and 'just' representations (notwithstanding the somewhat incompatible hedging statements of modesty).

This leads back to the question posed at the beginning of this introduction: why is it that Writing Culture has become such a modern or postmodern classic in anthropology? To our minds, a number of reasons arise from the diachronic analysis of the volume's intertextuality. First, several contributions did indeed provide 'detailed, imaginative, and suggestive analyses' (Scholte 1987: 38), which at the time of their publication truly did open new doors. Second, several of the essays were effective primarily because of their emotive claims to relevance and the pathos produced through the simultaneous unmasking and transcending of the rhetorical misdeeds of the past. While it is true that some of these essays expressed a degree of caution about their own epistemological legitimacy, thereby explicitly rejecting the idea that the approaches deployed therein were superior to those critiqued, such caveats could be read as mere rhetorical gesture. Despite their explicit understatement, the implicit, affectively transmitted message was that the essays did in fact offer a superior epistemological perspective. Third, despite its primary focus on textual analysis, Writing Culture did link up with an impressive array of topics, concerns and contemporary currents of thought, the most important of which have been referred to above. The more or less explicit dismissal by several contributors of attempts to create cohesive metanarratives thereby effected the maintenance of a high connectivity for the volume: depending on interest and point of departure, many different things could be `found', 'uncovered' and 'read into' the text, which equally contributed to its intensified reception. Fourth, the discussions in Writing Culture took place in an intellectual climate that was simply ripe for such an endeavour. As we have attempted to show, various theoretical developments prior to the volume's publication sensitized and thereby produced an audience for the publication. To put it differently, these trends ensured that Writing Culture was to meet its kairos.

To this last point should be added one final reason for Writing Culture's success, namely, the ingenious capacity of several of the essays — and especially Clifford's introduction — to frame the various prior and coexisting debates in such a way as to actively forge contemporary time into its own kairos. In other words, Writing Culture came about in part as 'the culmination of earlier developments in the profession' (Bunzl 1999: 260) because its very take on these developments turned itself into their 'culmination'. Our own textual organization can thereby be seen as a conscious extension of this framing, aimed at showing both how Writing Culture became central through its situatedness at crucial junctures and how its own depiction of this 'situation' contributed to this very centrality. In sum, Writing Culture became a success story because it productively and creatively responded to important developments in its time in a way that refocused this very time as 'a right and opportune moment': the volume thus both met and made its kairos.

Beyond Writing Culture

Invoking a rhetoric of going 'beyond Writing Culture' raises questions and possibly apprehensions. The textbook realist may fear yet another cascade of occultist 'beyond-isms', while the postmodern critic might see this as a boomerang-like 'moving-beyond-as-a-return-to-square-one'. The business of this volume, however, is much more sedate. While the collected chapters in this edition do appropriate the notion of moving 'beyond Writing Culture' in idiosyncratic ways and take it in numerous directions, a common project can still be specified in five respects.

First of all, we take the move 'beyond' to stand for the unitary refusal of the various essays to exclusively discuss, as ends in themselves, either the book Writing Culture or its subsequent debate. This volume thus positions itself as clearly past and beyond the actual debate on Writing Culture. Second, against the backdrop of historicizing both book and debate, we hope to achieve an altogether more sober and modest tone, which goes well beyond the frequently encountered oscillation between emphatic celebration and polemical condemnation. The contributions to this volume refer to Writing Culture in quite divergent and nuanced ways, which cannot be easily classified as being either supportive or critical of the original book. Thus we do not conceive the arrangement of the chapters in terms of a simple differentiation between proponents and critics of Writing Culture, since such a one-dimensional organization of the volume would flatten the complexities and multitudinousness of the whole debate. Third, this volume moves beyond Writing Culture's preoccupation with textual analysis and focuses instead on the wider and arguably more 'foundational' question of how to conceptualize the mutual implications and intersections between epistemologies and practices of representations. Fourth, the volume thereby aims to transcend the largely unidisciplinary background in anthropology that characterized the contributions to Writing Culture. Instead, this volume includes a diversity of perspectives by bringing together representatives from as many disciplines and approaches as possible. Such an endeavour was of course limited in numerous ways, not only in obvious ways like restrictions on publication length, but also by unforeseen occurrences that changed what was originally envisioned as the shape the volume would take.

This edition developed rut of a workshop entitled 'Beyond Writing Culture' held at the Max Planck Institute in September 2006. The workshop took the twentieth anniversary of Writing Culture's publication as an occasion to think about current intersections of epistemologies and practices of representation. Our invitations to speakers were not only shaped by institutional and personal networks but also by our desire to achieve a maximum variety of perspectives. The conference participants included in this volume represent disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, cognitive science and history.'6 In addition, we tried to maximize diversity not only in terms of disciplinary, ethnographic and epistemological approaches, but also with regard to textual genres. We were fortunate enough to get Rozita Dimova contributing a substantial as well as personal account of how Writing Culture crucially shaped her development as both an ethnographer and writer, in making her realize the formative and powerful role of language in any research process and quest for knowledge. Today, however, facing the challenges of neoliberal capitalism, which seems to be stabilized rather than undermined by the multiplicity of critical voices, Dimova argues that anthropologists should strategically reclaim authorial authority by going back to the founding 'fathers' of social science who recognized the centrality of class and economy.

Being situated on the same meta-level as the prologue, Dimova's essay thus provides an important cross-cutting interlogue' to our own concerns in this introduction. The same applies to Gunther Schlee's epilogue, which — equally drawing on personal experience — argues that for radical turning points to qualify as 'paradigm shifts', they need to be ultimately rooted in epistemological realism. However, if based on epistemological relativism (as was largely the case with Writing Culture), such shifts turn out to rather consist of playful and voluntaristic changes of fashion. In showing how anthropology in fact benefits, when self-declared relativists do not really keep their non-factual promises, Schlee pleads for (more) realism, which he sees as legitimated by both a rehabilitation of Popper and — usurping the logics of fashion — by a fatigue with playful relativism.

Besides maximizing diversity, a fifth and final way in which this volume aims to go 'beyond Writing Culture' actually consists of several ways, namely the concrete ways in which the authors of the eight chapters take up, rework and go about the challenge of configuring the intricate interrelation between epistemology and representational practice. All of the essays thereby suggest `doors' that can be opened beyond Writing Culture, and it is to a brief discussion of these that we now turn.

Opening Doors

The chapter by Vincent Crapanzano sets out from a threshold — more so, in a way, than any other contribution. Written by a participant in the original 1984 workshop, the chapter's retrospective gaze elaborates on one failure of the original `movement' and aims to move beyond this. Crapanzano insists that depictions of the Writing Culture group as a 'movement' were primarily externally ascribed dismissals of the project within a discipline that still resisted critical self-reflection on its products. The 1984 workshop participants themselves, however, did not really unite as a 'movement' and instead exhibited a contradictory range of perspectives. Nevertheless, most papers were united, he argues, in failing to appreciate how their own conception of language and text was consequential for their own approach. Crapanzano addresses this oversight by drawing on Silverstein's (1979) notion of 'linguistic ideologies', which — through the metapragmatic function — prioritize certain communicative functions like referentiality, the pragmatic-indexical or the poetic. This metapragmatic framing thereby tends towards mystification by erasing its own contingent privileging of certain functions. On the basis of different ethnographic examples, Crapanzano suggests an anthropology which is sensitive to diverse linguistic ideologies — not only because failing to acknowledge potentially divergent metapragmatic definitions can lead to seriously flawed interpretations of field encounters, but also, much more fundamentally, because the metapragmatic function literally empowers certain takes on reality while blinding us to others.

Steffen Strohmenger criticizes the assumption that judgements about non-moral matters are liable to empirical verification while judgements about moral matters are not. Strohmenger argues against the tenet that there is a non-value laden dimension of reality — the non-moral sphere — about which objective statements can be made, in contrast to a value laden dimension of reality — the moral sphere — about which empirically verifiable, objective statements are excluded. The author argues that such an assumption about the 'asymmetry' of knowledge cannot be maintained because both non-value and value questions share the same epistemological grounding. The epistemological assumption that only non-moral statements are objectively verifiable while value statements are not, according to the author, thereby entails a hidden moral dimension. As Strohmenger argues, James Clifford's essay 'On Ethnographic Allegory' (Clifford 1986b) can be read as an effort to make visible the asymmetry in anthropological discourse — an asymmetry that is still at the heart of our theoretical understanding and representational practices. However, while Clifford argues that ethnographic texts transport a hidden level of meaning concerning ethical and political significance, at some points in his text he nevertheless unwittingly re-inscribes the theoretical assumptions of epistemological asymmetry. Thus for Strohmenger, moving 'beyond' Writing Culture means striving for a 're-symmetrization' of scientific knowledge and ethnographic writing.

In his contribution, Karsten Kumoll begins with the assumption that the debate about the 'poetics and politics of ethnography' has led to a beneficial promotion of a reflexive sensibility in anthropological research and writing. However, the Writing Culture debate was predominantly a Western controversy within anthropology dealing with Western representations of non-Western life-worlds. Within various non-Western concepts of science, anthropology has been criticized for being an ethnocentric and neocolonial enterprise that stabilizes power asymmetries between Western and non-Western cultures. Kumoll points out that the political implications of representational practices seem to lie at the sociologists to form the new field of cultural sociology was the desire to grasp concrete practices and to reject at one and the same time 'structural' and cultural determinism. But this endeavour also sought to grasp the specific contributions, both enabling and restraining, that cultural actors made to practices. That entailed, Zammito argues, a more differentiated notion of culture, breaking it out into more determinate structures of its own, and then finding out how these structures affected practices. Zammito claims that the new American cultural sociologists seek a balance between structure and agency, avoiding structuralist determinism and voluntarist freedom alike. In order to move beyond Writing Culture, the argument goes, this insight of the 'new' cultural sociology of structure and agency should be combined with a self-aware and critically attuned anthropological sensitization to the pitfalls of representation.

The Worldliness of Representations

Although the chapters in this volume proceed in rather divergent empirical, methodological and epistemological directions, all of the authors nevertheless touch on common problems related to a move 'beyond' Writing Culture. In this respect, one important epistemological problem that was somewhat marginalized in Writing Culture concerns the 'worldliness' of texts — that is, different aspects of the relationship between 'texts' and the 'world'. This relationship may concern the question of how to represent empirical realities in scientific texts; it may also refer to different 'worldly' contexts of textual production and reception; and it may point to the embeddedness of epistemological frameworks, theoretical paradigms and research practices in historical contexts, academic disciplines and cognitive processes. In what follows, we give a short overview of the main aspects of `worldliness' that are addressed by the various contributions in this volume.

Crapanzano views representations as fundamentally implicated in the intertwined enactments of often unacknowledged linguistic ideologies, metapragmatically privileging certain communicative functions over others. As Crapanzano shows, this not only complicates communicative processes in theworld-to-be-represented, in that unacknowledged metapragmatic differences among informants can perpetuate mutual misunderstandings, distrust and negative stereotyping between and about them. In addition, divergent linguistic ideologies also affect the field encounter itself— that is, the-world-of-representing — which thereby turns into both the site and object of intense plays of power and desire when the metapragmatic definition of the situation itself is negotiated. It is here, Crapanzano reminds us, that the limits of mutual understanding are probed and shifted but also ultimately constituted.

The fact of such limited compatibilities emerging in fieldwork encounters also provides the focal point for Kirsch's discussion of the quandaries that result from the very question, in what sense representations actually are 'worldly'. In his exploration of a case of a Zambian Pentecostal Church, `theoglossia' — speech that purports to be an unmediated transmission of the Divine — obviously affects the operation of the Church's bureaucracy. However, this 'self-appellation of speakership' also poses fundamental epistemological questions since it leaves the ethnographer in the awkward position of either treating the informant's speakership position as true (implying that they are not the true speaker) or else negating the informant's denial of speakership in order to restore their 'truly true native's point of view'. The ways in which ethnographies reflect informants' self-appellations of speakership thus provide certain takes on the 'worldliness' of representations and exclude others.

Zenker builds on approaches in the philosophy of language that see representations as intrinsically worldly in that representations are necessarily in, and only therefore possibly of, the world. The ordinary, situated and routinized usage of representations is thus taken as a precondition for their intelligible referencing of the world. As Zenker stresses, the 'worlds' of production, reception and referentiality of representations thereby interlock within common language-games. Rather than lamenting the inescapably historical, spatial and social situatedness of specific instances of language-games as precluding an objective vantage point, Zenker emphasizes that the specific worldliness of language-games and their representations not only allows for referentiality in the first place, but also simultaneously provides 'truth-conditions-in-progress' for checking and improving one's game-specific accounts of the world of facts.

Reyna wants to overcome Writing Culture's indifference to empirical reality through recourse to 'approximate truths'. Within this framework, theories are always related to empirical reality through their confrontational stance towards the world, a stance that requires observations to produce 'validation histories' and `evidential ladders'. Validation histories are records of confrontations between observational pictures and generalizations about reality; these generalizations are thereby liable to validation or falsification. As we try to acquire more positive evidence validating a generalization within validation histories, Reyna argues, we climb an 'evidential ladder' towards truer generalizations about reality.

Strohmenger presents a more philosophical account of the relationship between 'world' and 'text,' arguing that the 'world' is misrepresented within the `text' if the realms of 'fact' and 'value' are separated from each other. This is so, Strohmenger points out, because both non-value and value statements share the same (im)possibility of being objectively answered. As a consequence, he argues that textual strategies should reflect what he calls the 'collapse of the fact/value dichotomy' — that is, the compatibility between these seemingly different epistemological domains.

By analysing the clash of apparently incompatible epistemological frameworks, Kumoll analyses the 'political' worldliness of theories and practices of research. He argues that Marshall Sahlins's cultural theory may serve as an example of the political location of epistemological and research practices in the world outside the text. Kumoll points out that Sahlins's cultural theory may be interpreted as a scientific rationalization of his political protest against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. However, Sahlins's universalist strategy of representation undermines his politically sensitive cultural relativism and collides with the emerging cultural studies of Oceania, a field that may be analysed as a radical political and epistemological alternative to Western anthropology. Kumoll concludes that both the development and the acquisition of theories, epistemologies and research practices are always embedded within changing historical and cultural contexts that shape their political dimensions and significance for different interpreters.

Focusing on the use of the culture concept in anthropology and sociology, Zammito also illustrates that scientific concepts are embedded in the world of different academic disciplines, paradigms, contexts and traditions that may shape their respective uses, connotations and meanings for different readerships. If anthropologists have been desperately seeking to extricate themselves from the culture construct, he argues, the situation in sociology has been just the opposite. The somewhat unexpected career of the culture concept in sociology may be at least partly explained by the attempt to overcome a crise de conscience in sociology in contrast to anthropology where the culture concept was alleged to have contributed to a crisis in representation. As Zammito's chapter shows, scientific concepts are also embedded in varying institutional structures that influence their respective uses in different academic fields.

A somewhat different account of the embeddedness of texts and research practices in the world is presented by Heintz, who seeks to investigate ethnographies with a more differentiated view of both the processes and diverse `worlds' that, at different stages, influence the production of texts. Adopting a stance informed by cognitive anthropology, Heintz emphasizes that the production of ethnographies involves forms of cognition that take place in the field as well as back at the researcher's home university, though this second element remains undertheorized. During fieldwork, 'mind-reading' — the cognitive ability to attribute desires, beliefs, and intentions to others — is crucial and, as Heintz argues, autobiographical sections in ethnographies provide important information concerning the ethnographer's mind-reading acculturation in the 'world' of the field. Back in the 'world' of research institutions, however, colleagues become the relevant Other, thereby shaping the final text and turning it into a product of distributed cognition. This specific 'worldliness' of representations equally finds its way into the text through acknowledgments and a rightful absence of 'the author'. With this approach, Heintz addresses yet another facet of the worldliness of representations and thereby complements the other contributions in this volume, which open up various frameworks that, in locating the 'text' in the 'world', warrant further analysis.

Theorizing and Realizing Intersections of Epistemology and Representational Practice

While it may initially sound trivial, it is worth noting that despite pointing towards various pitfalls and while airing certain reservations concerning the epistemological status of representations, all the contributors to this volume are united in continuing to represent. The mere act of representing sends a clear message that, notwithstanding evident costs, within this volume the gains are still seen as justifying a continual representational process. This observation draws attention to a more general issue, which we think was not sufficiently attended to in Writing Culture, namely the question of recursivity: to what extent is what is said by an author consistent with both that and how it is said in the text? Put differently, we must ask how an author handles the fact that in theorizing about intersections of epistemology and representational practice, they are always already realizing such an intersection. In a final consideration of the various chapters we thus provide our reading of how these texts actually deal with this issue.

In highlighting linguistic ideologies, which privilege the referential, indexical or poetical function within communication, Crapanzano cautions against approaches that unduly universalize their own metapragmatic position by misreading it in others' representations. This warning becomes necessary because such ideological frames have the power to obfuscate themselves. Crapanzano directs his admonition against scientisms that tend to assume that the referential is more important than the indexical, poetical or other metapragmatic functions of representations. However, Crapanzano himself does so within a scientific, denotational text' which also prioritizes referentiality. Reflexively taking up this issue, Crapanzano makes clear that although the project of a reflexive science can and should be maintained, it provides but one metapragmatic approach, which ultimately must remain blind to its own omissions.

The issue of referentiality and especially the problem of how to recursively handle it in a consistent manner also constitutes a central concern in Zenker's chapter. In his case study he attempts to theorize about 'their' language usages in terms of the same conditions that, as he retrospectively shows, he himself has realized in theorizing. In this process, a symmetry between 'their' and 'our' language-game is suggested in which notions of 'truth', 'meaning' and 'facts' rooted in situated representational usages are seen as underpinning rather than undermining the realist project of a referential social science. Zenker thereby suggests that what is needed is a realistic understanding of scientific realism rather than a change to non-realistic modes of writing.

Reyna argues that the indifference of postmodernism to empirically validated referentiality corresponds to the deplorable situation in which the chief intellectual products of anthropology — ethnographies — are often forgotten. Reyna's argument conceptually develops his notion of 'hard truths' and can thereby itself be seen as being based on such a 'hard truth', as Reyna reflexively suggests. Only if ethnographers care for and comprehensibly validate the truth of their accounts will their ethnographies less easily sink into oblivion. In addition, Reyna's plea for avoiding 'blurred concepts' is also mirrored by his own representational style, which seeks to follow his own rules of accuracy and reliability as much as possible.

Zammito suggests that the divide between sociology and anthropology concerning the different usages and understandings of culture concepts should be overcome by further advancing approaches that are both sensitive to the fallacies of representation and sympathetic to developing a systematic theorization of the relationship between structure and action. By providing various citations taken from texts that are central to anthropological and sociological debates on culture and by discussing a multitude of different paradigms and theories, Zammito's narrative may be read as being itself a textual reflection of this goal: he carefully constructs virtual dialogues between different paradigms and research traditions, thereby contributing to contemporary attempts to enrich both anthropological and sociological theories of culture.

Strohmenger discusses Clifford's move from an asymmetrical to a symmetrical understanding of non-value and value judgements. However, Strohmenger argues that Clifford is seduced by the vocabulary he uses and is led to a conclusion that ultimately fails to defend a symmetrical position. One example of this is what Strohmenger calls 'secret repetition compulsion'; that is, the confusion of nonfactual with value statements. Strohmenger's analysis of Clifford's text can thereby be interpreted as an outcome of his attempt to overcome the fact/value dichotomy, as Strohmenger seeks to sensitively combine non-value and value judgments in Clifford's essay, thereby aiming at a 'symmetrical' position.

In his elaborations of ethnographic cognition and the process of writing (up) culture, Heintz suggests that we read the restricted information on 'the author' as well as the corresponding stylistic conventions within classic ethnography as reflecting crucial cognitive processes, which constitute the basis for such texts primarily aimed at representing cultural others. In accordance with these reflections, Heintz makes only a few, brief self-references in his text: in the introduction where Heintz introduces himself as a cognitive anthropologist of anthropology and in the concluding paragraph of his chapter, as well as several lines of his acknowledgements that provide information on his mind-reading acculturation during fieldwork. The remainder of his acknowledgements indicates critical academic exchanges, which ensure that his text is sufficiently saturated with distributed cognition.

Within quite a different ethnographic arena, Kirsch struggles with the question of how to maintain the anthropological ideal of dialogism and multivocality in giving voice to others when these others themselves adhere to monologism, monovocality, and the total truth from 'the spirit's point of view'. As Kirsch shows, there are no easy answers to this problem. In fact, Kirsch's own solution — such as his phrasing of 'self-appellation of speakership by interlocutors' rather than of 'God speaking through others' — already constitutes a position seeking allegiance with a secular, multivocal anthropology rather than with a sacred voicing of the Holy Spirit. Kirsch reflexively comments on this predicament, insisting that even if the tension cannot ultimately be resolved, we can at least make explicit the extent to which our representations reflect our interlocutors' self-appellation of speakership.

Also seeking to determine how far a dialogic integration of self and other can be taken, Kumoll looks at ways of overcoming the emerging epistemological and political divide between Western and Oceanic research practices. He argues that anthropology and related disciplines may benefit from incorporating specific elements of Oceanic ways of 'doing' science into their scholarly frameworks. At the same time, however, Kumoll's text is not an example of combining Western and Oceanic epistemologies and practices of representation, as the author emphasizes. Kumoll's narrative rather indicates that he wants to extend the limits of mutual compatibility without committing the error of giving up one's own otherness with regard to the other, as this would signify the end of any fruitful dialogue.

Creating a fruitful dialogue between different positions within and across academic disciplines on current intersections of epistemologies and representational practices has also been a primary driving force behind this volume. Though unified in general approach, the essays that comprise this volume nevertheless advocate different positions and are written in different tones, expressing varying degrees of scepticism towards social science's ability to deliver. Nevertheless, we believe that the essays in this volume are ultimately united in that they all suggest specific doors to be opened beyond Writing Culture in ways that exhibit their reflexivity less in terms of textual strategies of self-reference and more in terms of a heightened awareness of the individual condition and conditionalities of the author.