Writing the Exotic, the Authentic, and the Moral: Romanticism as Discursive Resource for the Ethnographic Text

Amir Marvasti, Christopher Faircloth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-784
Number of pages25
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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