STRANGER AND FRIEND by Hortense Powdermaker


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Writing primarily for young anthropologists and social scientists, the author, a middleaged university professor, has taken advantage of a sabbatical year to review her career, and the many points of personal involvement and detachment which are part of field work, the heart of her discipline. Using her own published and well-known research in Lesu, Mississippi, Hollyood, and Northern Rhodesia as frames of reference, she gives a case history of her own feelings, development, and understanding. As the autobiography of a career it is completely honest, and in the place that might be expected to produce exotic recollection there is the forthright chapter, ""Monotony."" The discussion is always thoughtful and the epilogue is pithy. It comments on the tension inherent in stepping in and out of society. This is part of the technique of participant observation and intensive interviewing, sensitive and vital communication, an essential to the meaningful study of mankind. Her field abounds with practitioners who invent Jargon as they go, but Miss Powdermaker writes clear, persuasive English.

ISBN: 0393004104
Publisher: Norton