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Ethnography, Silence, Torture and Knowledge

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This paper considers the interrelationships, historically and culturally, between ethnography, silence, torture and knowledge. As a key methodology for anthropology, and increasingly other academic disciplines, ethnography has also become a broader cultural value. In the context of the emergence of anthropology as a professional discipline the epistemology implicit in ethnography is discussed with reference to he cultural meanings of silence and of torture. The influences of Classical and Enlightenment ideas of the foundation of truth in agonistic performance on modernist science and social research provide a context for discerning the pragmatic convergence between ethnography and torture, especially in recent attempt to weaponize culture and recruit social scientists to military counter-insurgency campaigns.
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Keywords: Anthropology; Ethnography; Science; Silence; Torture

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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