Vivanco - Tarzan - Chapter 16
Adventure and Regulation in Contemporary Anthropological Fieldwork
To establish ourselves as professionals, anthropologists have long tended to
downplay the adversities we encounter — distrust, opposition, calamity, irreducible
ambiguity — in order to protect the credibility of our research. Even
the rather attractive category of adventure usually finds a place only in our
memoirs or popular treatments, not in peer-reviewed articles and books.
Candid portrayals of adventures and the complications they leave behind
could undermine the air of impartial authority for which most of us strive.
Now that cultural anthropology has become absorbed in how our position
as observers affects the knowledge we produce, the anthropologist as adventurer
becomes pertinent in a new way. But anthropologists who boast of adventures
in some contexts will have good reason to deny them in others.