We Are All Insider-Outsiders

We Are All Insider-Outsiders: A Review of Debates Surrounding Native Anthropology

Abby Forster



More and more anthropologists are doing “anthropology of home” by researching within their own communities. Major methodological and theoretical contributions for researchers working in their home communities come from debates surrounding “native” anthropology. Since anthropology has historically involved going outside one’s community, the shift to research sites in an anthropologist’s home community has fostered debates about the application of traditional anthropological methods to one’s own community. This article outlines several important methodological issues that have been debated by native anthropologists including issues of distance, cultural competence, translation, and defining “native.” This article shows that native anthropology offers a critique of dominate anthropological practices by opposing the customary position of natives as objects and countering Eurocentrist domination in academia. At the same time, native anthropologists have been strong in voicing the fluidity of identity which shows that every researcher is both an insider and an outsider. These insights are important for every anthropologist of home.


Download full text


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s