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Ingenuous Ethnography : Patents, the Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and Volunteers

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Bibliographic Information

Other Title
  • 愚直なエスノグラフィー : 著作権・無形文化遺産・ボランティア(<特集>人類学的フィールドワークとは何か)
  • 愚直なエスノグラフィ--著作権・無形文化遺産・ボランティア
  • グチョクナ エスノグラフィ チョサクケン ムケイ ブンカ イサン ボランティア

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Abstract

Cultural anthropology is situated in a very severe environment. In this field, the critics of anthropology and fieldwork are sophisticated. They have played a very important role in making us aware of the colonial prejudice inherent in old ethnographies. An analysis of the characteristics of the career system of professional anthropologists shows that its system is sustained by the "patent system" of their writings. Ethnographies are not written anonymously, but are accompanied by the signature of their authors, who are responsible for their contents and have the authority to prohibit their use unless reference is made to the the author's name, the title of his/her work, and the pages cited. That academic patent system can create various problems. For example, using the excavation of the ruin of Kuntur Wasi in Peru as an example, it is possible to demonstrate that the excavations yield benefits to the village where the ruin is situated through the hiring of villagers as assistants to the excavations, the construction of the museum, and the education of the villagers to serve as guides to the visitors, and so forth. Nonetheless, we must attribute any academic result of the excavations to the professional archaeologist, making direct benefit to the villagers impossible because of the academic patent and career system. A professional outcome is not possible or necessary for the amateur villagers. Regarding the academic patent system and the future of ethnography, we must be aware of what is going on around the intangible heritage of humanity. An analysis of the characteristics of that heritage shows that the Proclamation of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity aims to safeguard the autonomous cultural traditions that are close to disappearing. Therefore, that proclamation reveals similar characteristics to development assistance for the society in danger of social decomposition. In this paper, I look at the specific example of the Kallawaya in Bolivia. I conclude that the villages of the Kallawaya are not isolated, as their culture is famous for its knowledge of botanical pharmacopoeia, with abundant academic studies existing. The culture of the Kallawaya has been proclaimed as an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity because of the fame of the itinerant herbalists and their acceptance of foreign visitors. They may proclaim the right to reject further investigations because they can consider their culture as property. They face a threat of having their botanical knowledge stolen by large foreign companies, so they must be aware of patents. Finally, citing the words of James Clifford and Yoshinobu Ota, I seek the potential of ethnographies. Ota points out that through the transcription of written ethnographies, anthropological knowledge and the cultural traditions recorded by anthropologists can yield benefits to the people who were formerly just objects of study. Using the anthropological writings of the people studied, perhaps old-fashioned or ingenuous ethnographies are more apt, showing more possibilities because of the freeness of their writing. But Ota's arguments are confined to the academic career system. I propose the possibility of creating a new type of anthropologists, namely, volunteers writing ethnographies, who can remain anonymous and do not make their living therefrom.

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Details

  • CRID
    1390001205802616448
  • NII Article ID
    110006547126
  • NII Book ID
    AA11958949
  • DOI
    10.14890/jjcanth.72.3_383
  • ISSN
    24240516
    13490648
  • NDL BIB ID
    9341847
  • Text Lang
    ja
  • Data Source
    • JaLC
    • NDL
    • CiNii Articles
  • Abstract License Flag
    Disallowed

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