Analysis Of Eduardo Kohn's How Forests Think

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Over the course of this class, we have read various ethnographies and methodological approaches regarding field research. Some have been very helpful, providing new theoretical insight relevant to my own field work whereas others, while undoubtedly interesting, seem less relevant to my own circumstances. In this essay, I present what I thought was useful or not useful from these five assigned ethnographies.
First, what I enjoyed about Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think is the legitimacy he seeks to give non-human beings. As he argues, “Without realizing it we attribute to nonhuman properties that are our own, and then, to compound this, we narcissistically ask them to provide us with corrective reflection of ourselves” (21). Trees, animals,
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As she so boldly states, “My argument should be familiar to anthropologists who have long acknowledge that the terms people use to organize their lives are not simply gloss for universally shred assumptions about the world and one’s place in it but are actually constitutive of different forms of personhood, knowledge, and experience” (16). She rejects the process of academic translation or the reductionism of universality and seeks to give authority and legitimacy to the people who participate in the ethnographer’s analysis. This approach has been the direction I want my ethnography to go in, away from a process that seeks to transfer an informants’ words into another language. It is indeed the scholars job to sort, present, and critique data in a way that is useful and thought provoking, not simply the mere parroting of the informants words, however, it is imperative not to squeeze these people into already established realms and categories, which do not adequately relay their true feelings and actions and promulgate ethnocentric assumptions and ideals. I hope my research is reflexive of what the people are indeed feeling and perceiving in addition to a critical

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