Ethnographer before social contexts of colonialism

Michel Leiris by Pablo Picasso, Current Anthropology, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Feb., 1988)


英訳:ページは、North Point Press版。

Although in principle any society can be studied from this point of view, ethnography has taken for its preferred field of study the "nonmechanized" societies, in other words those that have not developed any large-scale industry and are unfamiliar with capitalism or, as it were, know it only from outside, in the form of the imperialism to which they are subjected. In this sense, then, ethnography seems closely connected to the phenomenon of colonialism, whether ethnographers like it or not. Most of them work in colonial or semicolonial regions dependent on their native countries, and even if they do not receive any direct support from local representatives of their government, they are tolerated by them and ranked together, more or less, with agents of the administration by the people they are studying. In such conditions it would immediately appear difficult for even the ethnographer most enamored of pure science to close his eyes to the problem of colonialism, since he is, willy-nilly, a part of that game, and the problem is crucial for the societies thus subjugated with which he is concerned. (p.113)
Though it is beyond question that ethnography -- if it is not to cease being a science -- must be as impartial as it can, it is no less indisputable that, being a human science, it cannot claim to be as detached as a physical or natural science. Despite differences in color and culture, those we observe when we engage in an ethnographic study are always our fellow human beings, and we cannot adopt toward them the indifference, for example, of an entomologist curiously watching insects fighting or devouring each other. What is more, the impossibility of completely removing an observation from the influence of the observer is, in ethnography, even less negligible than in the other sciences, for this influence is much more pervasive. Even if we believe -- in the name of pure science -- that we must confine ourselves to conducting our investigations and not intrude, we can do nothing about the fact that the mere presence of the investigator within the society on which he is working is already an intrusion: his questions, his conversation, even his simple contact raises problems that the person he is interviewing had never posed to himself before; it makes him see his customs in another light, reveals new perspectives. In the case at least of art objects or religious objects transported to a museum in the motherland, no matter how one compensates those who possessed them, it is a part of the cultural patrimony of a whole social group that is being thus taken away from its rightful owners, and it is clear that the part of his work that consists in assembling collections-if one is allowed to see this as anything other than a pure and simple act of despoilment (given the scientific interest it presents and the fact that in museums the objects have a chance of being better preserved than by remaining where they were)-must at least be considered one of the acts of the ethnographer that by rights create obligations for him vis-a.-vis the societies he is studying: the acquisition of an object not normally meant to be sold is, in effect, an infringement of common practices and therefore represents an intrusion such that he who is responsible for it cannot consider himself entirely a stranger to the society whose customs have thus been disrupted. (Pp.113-114)
If, for ethnography even more than for other disciplines, it is already obvious that pure science is a myth, one must also admit that the desire to be purely scholars counts for nothing, in actual fact, in the face of this truth: working in colonized countries, we ethnographers, who are not only from the mother country but agents of the mother country, since it is the state that has commissioned us, are less entitled than anyone else to dissociate ourselves from the policy pursued by the state and its representatives in regard to the societies we have chosen as our field of study and to which -- if only through professional astuteness -- we have not failed to show, in approaching them, the sympathy and openmindedness that experience proves to be indispensable to making good progress in research. (pp.114-115)
5. 5.
・この場合に、彼らをあるがまま、客観的にとらえるとすれば、それは「経済、政治、文化面における西欧的支配をある程度受けている現下の社会状態におい て」考察すべきだということになる(p.155)。
6. 6.
・アドボケートとしての民族誌学者:「厳密な科学的好奇心とはしばしば無縁な動機からわれわれが関係をもつことになった植民地社会を理解することを職業と するわれわれは、われわれが属している植民側国民に対する、これら社会の弁護士のようなものに自然となることになります」(p.156)。
As a specialist in the study of these societies, so unknown to most people in the mother country, and as a traveler to regions of which these same people in the mother country have only the most confused, if not erroneous, idea, it is also up to the ethnographer to make known what they really are, and it is therefore to be hoped that despite the usual repugnance of scholars toward vulgarization, he will not scorn those occasions that may be offered him to express himself elsewhere than in scientific publications, so that the truths he has to express will be broadcast as widely as possible. To dissipate certain myths (starting with the myth of how easy life is in the tropics); to denounce, for example, instances of segregation or other customs that bear witness to a racism persisting even among nations such as those usually regarded as "Latin," who appear less inclined than others to see the White race as the race of lords; to condemn official or private acts he believes harmful for the present or future of the people he is concerned with: these are the elementary tasks that an ethnographer cannot -- if he is endowed with any professional conscience -- refuse at least to consider performing. (Pp.115-116).
・「民族誌学者は自分が語らなければならない真実が最高度の普及をみるよう、科学的出版物以外の分野においても、自分に提供された意見表明の機会を軽視し ないことが望ましい」(p.157)。
・「人種差別の証左である有色人種分離行為、あるいはその他の習慣を告発すること。自分の研究する民族の現在あるは未来にとって有害であると考慮される公 私いずれの行為をも非難すること。これらは民族誌学者が、少なくとも考慮にいれることを拒み得ない——彼に何らかの職業的良心があるとすれば——基本的任 務でもあります」(p.157)。
8. 8.
A culture-being defined as the sum of the modes of acting and thinking, all to some degree traditional, peculiar to a more or less complex and more or less extended human group-is inseparable from history. This culture, which is transmitted from generation to generation, changing according to a pace that may be rapid (as is the case, in particular, for the people of the Western world in modern times, although to some extent an optical illusion enters in here that makes us overestimate the importance of changes all the more considerable in appearance because they offend our habits) or may, on the contrary, be slow enough for these changes to be imperceptible (as is the case, for example, with certain African tribes whose superficial description as recorded by Herodotus remains more or less viable today)-this culture is not a fixed thing but a moving thing. Everything traditional about it ties it to the past; but it also has its future, being constantly in a position to augment itself with an unprecedented contribution or, inversely, to lose an element that falls into disuse-and this from the very fact that, as the generations succeed one another, it is continually taken up again by newcomers, to each of whom it provides a basis for departure toward the individual or collective goals he assigns himself. (pp.117-118).
・「各人が個人的に設定する個体的ないし集団的目的に向かうときの出発基地となってくれる文化というものは世代の連続に伴い、いつでも新来者らの手で再び 捉えられるということからこの経緯が生じてくるのです」(p.159)。
10. 10.
..... Rather than remaining closed in upon themselves (a utopian idea, anyway, given the conditions of the modern world),
the more correct line for colonized or semicolonized societies-in the case of great aggregates or of groups of societies with few cultural differences-would be that, while they awaken to an awareness of what they represent that is original, irreplaceable from a cultural point of view (so that a certain faithfulness to their past would be protected), their most active elements direct them toward an attempt to assimilate our technology and educate their people, an effort indispensable to each of these societies, considering its members as a whole, if it is to overcome its handicap as far as local possibilities permit and achieve conditions that might allow the voice of its masses, liberated-and for this reason able to take part in an effective way in the cultural evolution-to deliver a message to the outside world and have it heard. In this sense, the work being done in China now at the instigation of Mao Tse-tung must appear, to everyone who thinks Western peoples are not capable by themselves of creating a truly human civilization, as the beginning of a prospect full of hope. As far as one can judge, such a transformation differs radically from what occurred inJapan during the last few decades, because it is apeople's emancipation movement and not a simple alignment with the capitalist countries, as is the case with Japan, which has gone from being an old feudal state to being an imperialist power (Pp.118-119).
・西洋世界は植民地社会よりさまざまな文化的影響を受けているというが、被植民地世界が西洋世界をコントロールできるという意味ではない。これは、被植民 地世界が西洋世界から影響受けるのとは非対称で、イニシアチブは被植民地世界にはない。
12. 12. 12.
Yet one must not forget that if there is a definite interest in seeing education spread among these peoples, it is not so that their systems of ideas might be replaced by ours, which nothing-except pragmatic considerations-allows us to consider a priori more valid, but so that these peoples might, as soon as possible, be as well equipped intellectually as we are, capable of achieving the same practical goals, and consequently in a position to take their fate in their own hands. Such an education, if it is felt to be humanly useful, must logically be carried out on the largest scale and within as short a time as possible; and we must add that it will be accomplished all the more quickly and all the more effectively if the peoples in question realize the imperious need they have for this weapon in the struggle they must engage in to overcome an oppression that is tied to the very nature of capitalism (the concentration of the means of production in the hands of a privileged class) and that continues to be a form of oppression even when it assumes the guise of the most benign paternalism. One must also consider that this struggle is in itself a kind of education: it is not by resigning oneself to living under a guardianship but by becoming accustomed to assuming one's own responsibilities that one becomes fit to govern oneself (Pp.120-121).
13. 13.
"As regards education (to restrict myself to the cultural domain in the strict sense of the word), it seems, for example, that an ethnographer -- accustomed as he is to taking a relativistic view of civilizations and regarding ideas as indissolubly connected to concrete circumstances -- can support only those who believe that teaching in a colonized or semicolonized territory should, at least in the beginning, refer as much as possible to the natural setting and local history, if one wants to avoid uprooting the child and turning him into a person with a purely superficial culture" (p.121).

"[F]rom this point of view, it seems that a solution ought to be looked for-as M. Leopold Sedar Senghor has already advocated-in the direction of bilingual instruction (in French and in one of the most common vernacular languages), a method of teaching that would not cause the same uprooting as instruction given exclusively in French and would not expose the child to the risk of later being cut off from the outside world and deprived of the means of defending himself because of his ignorance-or his insufficient knowledge-of one of the great languages "of civilization," as they say." (p.122).
14. 14.
15. 15. 15.
If it is clear, apart from these reservations, that when ethnography is applied to colonial problems it can perform a number of services and sometimes soften the effect of brutal shocks (as Lucien Levy-Bruhl pointed out in 1926, at the creation of the Institut d'Ethnologie de l'Universite de Paris), it is just as clear that beyond its application within the administrative framework, it can be of some use to colonized peoples in the process of emancipation, who are beginning to think about the meaning of particular characteristics of their traditional cultures. (Pp.122-123).
16. 16.
[W]e must nevertheless consider that in studying their cultures, we provide these colonized peoples with materials that can in any case help them define their vocation and that we are only fulfilling our functions as scientists in the strictest sense by allowing them to profit from this work, which, for the simple reason that they are its subject matter, primarily concerns them. To create archives for these peoples-including the very ones whose history, because they know how to write, may be composed of more than just oral traditions but who do not have available to them methods by which they could engage in a positive study of their own social life-to create archives that they will be able to use as a resource is an undertaking whose interest is obvious, from the point of view not only of knowledge in general but of the self-awareness these peoples may acquire. (p.123).
In this sense, even though the study of those societies that are less affected than others by colonization and thus seem "archaic" (or, perhaps more correctly, "anachronistic"), even though the study of such societies distances us from the study of more current questions and can become a sort of alibi, it has the undeniable interest of informing future members of these societies (if they do not reach the point of disintegrating completely) of approximately what they once were like. If we succeeded in disseminating these works as they should be instead of publishing them almost exclusively for ourselves and our colleagues in foreign countries, the benefit would be that henceforth all colonized peoples able to read us would have an account of what various members of the group of peoples they belong to have been able to accomplish through their own means. (p.124).
17. 17.

18. 18.
Strictly from the point of view of scientific research, it seems there is a good deal to learn from contact with those known by the very displeasing term of" evolved" peoples. Among these people, in whom, by the very progress of acculturation, we find only a small number of the traits we have become accustomed to observing among other Africans, we have some chance of perceiving certain characteristics and asking ourselves if their continuing presence might indicate that they correspond to what was most profound, most personally inherent in the cultures that can be seen in them, as though these had undergone something one might then compare to a decantation: traits-or rather an appearance-that would represent that aspect of a people's culture that is less directly subject to the vicissitudes of history and would constitute precisely the particular way one has there of being a man, this way embodying, for a long period at least, what one could justifiably regard as the very originality of this people. (p.126).
19. 19.
20. 20. 20.
・変容しつつある社会を記述する際に、進歩した連中(西洋人のこと)や、部族から離れた連中(文化変容をうけている被植民地の人たち)という不快な用語を 使うべきでない。
With this really very simple goal in mind-to orient French ethnography in a direction I will not hesitate to describe as more realistic, fully aware of how vague and uncertain such a term is -- it would be suitable to habituate students (who are too easily seduced, when it comes to the direction of their future research, by the attraction of myths and rituals, an attraction certainly justified by the immense interest this part of the research presents, if only because in a given society myths and rituals represent the "tradition" in the strictest sense of the word, but an attraction that should not allow one to forget that myths and rituals lose at least a good part of their meaning if, as one studies them, one neglects their social context even a little), it would be suitable to habituate students to regard as just as deserving of the interest of the best of them an undertaking that to many seems so much less rewarding: the study of societies on the completely down-to-earth level of daily behavior or, for example, food (so often insufficient or ill balanced) and standards of living. (Pp.126-127).
21. 21.
From this "realistic" perspective, it would also be desirable to study colonial societies in their entirety, with research bearing not only on natives but on Europeans and other Whites who live in them (or paying particular attention, at least, to examining relations between the natives and these noncolonized peoples). Such a study could not fail to bring out how much, from a human point of view, relations between colonials and colonized peoples can be detrimental to both parties; the situation is an unequal one that can only demoralize both parties, encouraging excess in one, servility in the other. (p.127).
22. 22.
Another point to which peoples' attention must be drawn is the following: If one regards ethnography as one of the sciences that should contribute to the development of a true humanism, it is clearly regrettable that it remains, in some sense, unilateral. I mean by this that although we have ethnography engaged in by Westerners studying the cultures of other peoples, the inverse does riot exist; the fact is that none of these other peoples has so far produced any researchers able -- or in a practical position -- to make an ethnographic study of our own societies. From the point of view of scholarship, then, there is a sort of imbalance, when one thinks about it, that falsifies perspectives and contributes to anchoring us in our pride, since our civilization lies out of range of examination by societies that are themselves quite within range of our own examination. (pp.127-128)
23. 23.
It goes without saying that I have no intention of advocating what would be a hopelessly idealistic dream, given the current state of relative strengths: to train ethnographers in colonized countries from scratch so that they could come to us on a mission to study our ways of life. I am not unaware of the fact that even if such a project were not utopian, it would not resolve the problem, since these researchers would do their work using methods we had taught them and what would be thus created would be an ethnography still strongly marked by our stamp. The completely theoretical question I am raising here thus remains unanswered, but there is something in an analogous sense that is quite possible to achieve and also has its own precedents: to train native ethnographers to devote themselves to research either in their own societies or in neighboring societies. By systematically developing, alongside ours, an ethnography suitable to the natives, one would obtain studies of the societies in question conducted from two points of view: that of the researcher from the mother country who, whatever his efforts to put himself on an equal footing with the society he is observing, can do nothing about the fact that he is from the mother country; and that of the colonized researcher, who is working in his own milieu or a milieu close to his own and whose way of seeing things, one can hope, will differ to a
greater or lesser degree from ours. The training of a sufficient number of colonized ethnographers-whether or not it results in truly new perceptions about the regions studied-would be useful at least in the sense that the colonized peoples, while becoming alienated from their customs (as is inevitable), would retain a more vivid memory of them, one would think, because they would be able to appreciate their meaning and value through studies done by their own people and because those same people who would devote themselves to studying their own ways of life would ipso facto adopt toward them the attitude -- the position of an observer encompassing the scene with his glance in order to situate things in their correct places -- of someone who had left them behind rather than having purely and simply repudiated them. (pp.128-129).
【24.】 【24.】
Finally, it is important to point out that the orientation of ethnographic research, whether it corresponds to an organized program or is abandoned to individual whim, is always governed by the idea we have, in this Western world we belong to, of the inherent interest in examining certain problems felt by us to be the most urgent or the most important, for various reasons that may be excellent but, even in the best cases, are never more than our reasons. In this connection, it would be suitable to develop and systematize contacts between ethnographers based in Paris, for example, and intellectuals from colonized or semicolonized countries living in Paris: politicians,writers, artists, students, etc. One would take one's inspiration, when orienting one's research, from the desires expressed by these different categories of intellectuals, who would be anxious, for the sake of what they feel to be the real needs of their country, to see certain problems analyzed. Theoretically, such participation on the part of representatives of colonized peoples in the direction of research concerning them would be only normal in a country like France, which admits into its own assemblies elected representatives (though very few, it is true) from these same populations. Practically, if one observes to what extent the policy of this country, whose empire is now graced with the title "French Union," remains in its forms as well as in its goals a colonialist policy (as is evidenced by events such as the bloody repression and the low-level police tactics used to silence Madagascan claims, not to mention the Vietnam War, a murderous operation, ruinous for both sides, that was waged in disdain for the great principle by which every people has a right to self-government), it is undeniable that one can hardly see more than a pious wish in the wish expressed above. At the rate things are going, one can, in fact, believe to be only minimal, if not completely nil -- barring a complete reversal of circumstances -- the chances of seeing any official development of the sort of ethnography I would like, which would primarily aim to serve the interests (as they themselves may see them) and the aspirations of the peoples currently being colonized. For the present, one is compelled to state that, on the contrary, if an ethnographer openly displays total solidarity with the object of his study, he in many cases actually risks seeing himself deprived of the very possibility of accomplishing his missions. (pp.129-130).
From the most narrowly national point of view, however, it is certain that, the colonial regime being a state of things that everyone (even those who hope to see it prolonged) recognizes to be essentially temporary, since the economic, social, intellectual, and other development associated with colonization tends to give the people in countries subject to this regime the opportunity to emancipate themselves, the only sane policy would consist in preparing for this emancipation in such a way that it can come about with the least damage possible and therefore in seeking to encourage it rather than hold it back, since a policy inclined to prevent people from emancipating themselves almost certainly, in the end, turns against the nation that attempted this repression. In this sense a form of ethnography dissociated from any spirit of colonialism, direct or indirect, would probably contribute to ensuring for the future a minimum of good understanding between the mother country and its former colonies, at least on the level of cultural relations. (p.130).
【25.】 【25.】
From a broader point of view, one should recall that, as we too live under the domination of economic forces we cannot control, we are subject to our own oppression, and it is hard to see how the construction of a world freed of this oppression could take place unless all those who must submit to its consequences, whether they are colonized peoples or not, unite against the common enemy represented by a bourgeoisie too attached to its position as dominant class not to seek -- consciously or unconsciously -- to maintain at all costs such a state of oppression. So that when one regards them no longer from the point of view of the privileged minorities but from that of the great masses, the interests of the nations who have become the promoters of ethnography and those of the peoples they are studying appear, finally, to converge. (pp.139-140).

「観点をより拡げるならば、われわれもまた、自分たちの力ではコントロール出来ない経済力の支配下に生きていて、ある圧迫を受けているのだというとと、こ の圧迫から解放された一世界の建設とは、被植民地人であれ、その反対であれ、この圧迫の影響を蒙っている人々が、自己の支配階級的位置に執着する余り、こ の圧迫状態を是が非でも維持しなければならないところの——意識的にせよ、そうでないにせよ——ブルジョアジーによって表わされる共通の敵に対抗して協力 一致しなければ、どうやって成就させ得るのか見当もつかないのだということを指摘しない訳にはいかないのであります。従って、小数の特権者の水準において ではなしに、大衆の水準において考慮するならば、民族誌学の推進者となった人々の関心と、彼らが研究する人々の関心とは最終的には一つになるものだと考え られます」(p.177)。
It remains true that if the ethnographer perhaps sinks his own ship, as far as the colonizers are concerned, by attempting to speak too frankly, by attempting to give his enlightened assistance to peoples currently fighting for their freedom , still he may, as far as the colonized are concerned, be no more than an interfering busybody; for material liberation -- the preliminary condition for any pursuit of a vocation -- can come about only through means more violent and more immediate than those available, as such, to the scholar (p.131).

「民族誌学者が、植民者側から、現在自分たちの解放のため闘っている人々に老練な協力を貸し与ええるために、率直に過ぎるほどの態度で語り、すすんで事態 の終結を急がせるようなことをしても、おそらく、被植民地の側から見れば余計な御節介をやいているだけであろうことも付け加え述べておかなくてはなりませ ん。なぜなら、具体的な解放とは——あらゆる天職遂行の前提条件であります——学者たちが学者として自由に行使し得る手段よりもより暴力的、より直接的な 手段によってしかかち得られないからであります」(p.177)。
So long as he has not resolved to strive for his own liberation by taking part in the battle being fought in his own country, the ethnographer torn by the anxiety just described will not cease to grapple with his contradictions. (p.131)

「それゆえ、彼自身の圏内で行なわれている闘いに参加することによって彼自身の解放のために働くという決心をしないかぎり、以上述べられた心配のとりこで ある民族誌学者は、自己の矛盾の中でたえずもがき続けるであろうことはたしかなことであります(pp.177-178)。

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