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Writing Anthropology

Authors: Wulff, Helena;

Writing Anthropology

Abstract

Writing is key in anthropology, as one of its main modes of communication. Teaching, research, publications, and outreach all build on, or consist of, writing. This entry traces how anthropological writing styles have evolved over time according to changing politics in the discipline. It starts out in the late nineteenth century, showing how early writings in the discipline aimed to be objective. While writing anthropology in a literary mode goes a long way back, it was not until the 1970s that writing began to be collectively acknowledged as a craft to be cultivated in the discipline. This led to a boom of experimental ethnographic writing from the 1980s, as part of the ‘writing culture’ debate. The idea behind experimental narratives was that they might convey social life more accurately than conventional academic writing. Today, literary production and culture continue to be a source of inspiration for anthropologists, as well as a topic of study. Anthropological writing ranges from creative nonfiction to memoirs, journalism, and travel writing. Writing in such non-academic genres can be a way to make anthropological approaches and findings more widely known, and can inspire academic writing to become more accessible. Recent developments in anthropological writings include collaborative text production with interlocutors and artists. However, the tendency for experimentation is also held in check, as publishing in academic publication formats and featuring in citation indices is crucial for anthropologists’ careers. Still, as our writing moves increasingly online, there is a growth of flexible formats for publishing, including online books, essays on current affairs, and conversations in journals.

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology (CEA) is an open-access teaching and learning resource.

Country
Sweden
Related Organizations
Keywords

literary anthropology, writing anthropology, Sociology, Sociologi, ethnographic writing, anthropological writing genres

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  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    0
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
0
Average
Average
Average
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