Ethnography and response - ability
(Comenius University, Philosophical faculty)
Paper short abstract:
Ethnographic interview techniques represent a specific know-how in intercultural communication. This paper focuses on the ways how ethnography may share its insights with the state administration in the process of interviewing immigrants.
Paper long abstract:
Ethnographic interview techniques represent a specific know-how in intercultural communication. They are unique in its qualitative approach, appealing in understanding both "us" and "the other". This paper focuses on the ways how ethnography may share its insights with the state administration in the process of interviewing immigrants. I aim to discuss possibilities of sharing anthropological knowledge to the professionals working outside the social scientific discourse. Data come from a long-term observation of state practices and engagement in facilitation of trainings for asylum applicants, refugee camp staff, migration office representatives, border police, attorneys and judges in Slovakia and V4 countries. The contribution addresses conditions which are substantial for acceptance of anthropological know-how by non-anthropologists. I propose that the prerequisites for public interventions are identical with requirements for "doing ethnography". Firstly (1) it is essential to undertake inquiries and long-term observations to understand the language of a particular social group and its local practices. Secondly (2) prior to transfer of specifity of social communication it is vital to question widely distributed notions of human nature as such. These include understanding responses of human brain, role of emotions, memory processes, language functions, transmission mechanisms of concepts such as stereotypes, as well as contextual conditioning of time, space and social group for any interpretation.
Engaged anthropology: Reality? Necessity? Utopia?