15
Oct
07

From Apter (1999): Fabian’s Dialogical, Performative Ethnographic Experiment

Quoted from Apter (1999: 584):

In a bold experimental initiative, which followed Mudimbe (1988) and Wilmsen (1989) in winning the Herskovits Award, Fabian (1990) produced a critical ethnography of a theatrical performance in which the anthropologist played a “leading” role. Working with a popular acting troupe in Shaba, Zaire, Fabian documented the production, direction, rehearsal and performance of a play that developed in direct response to questions he asked about the saying “Le pouvoir se mange entier, Power is eaten whole” (Fabian 1990:3). Extending the ethnography of speaking and performing to creating and fashioning through social praxis, Fabian’s ethnography and the play that it in effect coproduced emerge as part of a larger communicative interaction within an evolving framework of historical, political, and cultural meanings.

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