The influence of the literary discourse of romanticism on the textual construction of social problems is examined using secondary content analysis of classical and contemporary ethnographies. Three discursive elements of romanticism (the lure of the exotic, authenticity, and the moral project) are highlighted and critiqued in relation to the researcher-participant duality, the taken-for-granted self, and promises of amelioration. The analysis points to the relations of power and misrecognized realties embedded in how social problems and deviant others are written. It is recommended that ethnographers reevaluate the emancipatory potential of their texts by subverting and reinventing the constitutive themes of romanticism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)