Who do anthropologists think they are?!
You may have followed the ensuing debates around Alice Goffman’s ethnography and the broader moral, ethical and potential legal implications of her written account based on six years of ethnographic involvement in ‘an American City’. As it has become the gold standard in our digital times for any controversial topic that needs a through discussion without approaching any solution, the major academic platforms have been featuring op-eds on this topic. But it was a sentence in David Perlmutter’s ‘ In Defense of Ethnography ’ detailed and balanced piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education that triggered my own desire to share a few reflections in the broader context of development anthropology: Ethnographers, thus, give voice to people who aren’t necessarily otherwise heard. As a development anthropologist and academic myself I find such a sentence in 2015 quite astonishing-even if I understand his remark in the broader context of his low-level street policing ethnography; who do a