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After Writing Culture: An Interview with George Marcus on Research Imaginaries, Collaboration, and Critical Data Elise McCarthy

and Valerie Olson In 1986, Rice University anthropologist George E. Marcus and University of California at Santa Cruz historian James Clifford published Writing Culture, essays from a 1984 School for American Research advanced seminar. The now-classic collection is famously and notoriously credited with interrupting standard modes of ethnographic representation and marking the onset of disciplinary experimentation and uncertainties. How better to mark its 20th anniversary than for us as Rice graduate students to interview Marcus, our former chair and now interdepartmental collaborator? Rather than ask him about writing and culture, our interview is concerned with the unprecedented contingency of anthropology today and Marcuss ongoing activities to refigure graduate training. It was inspired by the cues in the raw text of a 2006 email interview with Marcus by Argentine anthropologist Marcelo Pisarro (ultimately quoted in Pisarros 2006 Diario Clarn article, Entonces, qu estudiaba la antropologa?), which asks established anthropologists to reflect on their vocational calling and contemporary attempts to redefine anthropological subjects, objects, and methods. Using that interview text, we honed our interview questions to the particularities of student research and career building today. The original interview of Marcus by Pisarro will be published in the February 2008 edition of Cultural Anthropology. In response to our questions, Marcus reviews the existing but potentially outmoded aesthetics and expectations of students first projects and offers his thoughts towards new framings of research design that can evolve out of research imaginaries. These new framings derive in part from tensions between the opportunities and pressures of collaboration in the field and older, simpler technologies of individual knowing. They also open the door to searching for critical data amidst different fieldwork ecologies on diverse scales, and challenging such well-worn tropes as method and discovery, and preparing for the reception of ones ethnographic work. We invite you into this raw example student/mentor office-talk which is usually tucked behind closed doors or cooked obscurely into dissertations.

MC and O: For the student who would wish to contribute fresh ideas to anthropology, the first step is to design a good project. Could you describe your experience training students to create a research imaginary in the early phases of dissertation project development its features, limitations, surprises, and relevance to the inevitable process that you have called circumstantial muddling through (Marcus 2001:527) in the field? M: Before answering, I will use this framework for discussing the following questions. I will try to assume the perspective of a supervisor/mentor of contemporary dissertation projects produced in anthropology departments. This is work I actually did for 30 years at Rice - a distinctive department covering a period of substantial change in the conditions and profile of

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anthropological research. However, the predicaments of apprentice research seem very similar at University of California at Irvine where I am now, and from what I see, hear, and read - at many other departments as well. Partly, what is involved here for me is a shift of my thinking in the 1980s and 1990s about the emergence of multi-sited ethnography to pedagogical issues. Research imaginaries and muddling through are part of the project design process. In order to get to the peoples and places sites where fieldwork literally (and still) takes place, especially in the training projects of dissertation research, ethnographers must initially work through complex systems of knowledge making and expertise. To put it more simply perhaps, in the present training model of fieldwork/ethnography, these systems of knowledge making and expertise are outside fieldwork. They are part of the contextual apparatus of a project, acquired at home in courses, etc., which eventually finds its center in some literal site of lived experience where the stuff of (a) culture can be engaged, observed, and described/analyzed. But what if the complex system of knowledge making and expertise is treated as an object of ethnographic thinking and inquiry from the outset? It is an essential medium of fieldwork and where it begins. I think this is increasingly required for projects that go beyond their monopolization by now near exhausted questions of identity that replaced the traditional topics of ethnographic investigation - kinship, ritual, myths, exchange systems etc. - dramatically waning from the 1980s onward. Placing the framing operations of research practices - reading theory, doing background inquiry, interviews - themselves within the bounds of doing fieldwork radically challenges the way of implementing the classic and emblematic research model of anthropology. This now requires a comprehensive process of design (a key word that has worked for me in arguing for an alternative or reinvention of the training model) that encompasses the distinctive going to the field and encourages a different sense of the scale of fieldwork and the boundaries of the ethnographic within a research project. For many projects today, there is neither developed anthropological literatures to inform them in their creation nor is there for their end products - ethnographies, publications - a reception of careful reading and critique of any depth within anthropology itself: current reception is both superficial and ephemeral compared to when there was disciplinary control by anthropology of its own topics. The absence in anthropology of either authoritative concepts for designing research or authoritative reception for its results poses in itself a great challenge to the application of the classic model of research in anthropology. For me, this absence suggests more serious consideration of collaborative norms, and the forms these might take today. More on this later. So the facts that ethnography encompasses both systems of knowledge and sites of lived experience, and that the informing conceptual bases and ultimate receptions for its projects are more importantly and substantively outside rather than inside the professional disciplinary community of anthropologists, together suggest ways for rethinking anthropologys distinctive training model and culture of emblematic method beyond it.

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If ethnography begins at home, so to speak, and ends in the field, into which reception of its results is folded, then it requires change in the professional culture which instills it. But I do not think such change needs to be, or can be at present, paradigmatic or epochal in nature. A certain romance, nostalgia, and aesthetics of practice are powerfully present in the rather informal ways that method has traditionally been imparted in anthropological training. Any innovations of method must work within this aesthetics of method. And certain institutional constraints also operate against a major shift in the training model: for example, the forms of applying for funding, the economy of time to complete degrees, publication fashions, the current passion for public anthropology, and the ability to compete for standard academic jobs. Still, I believe that the actual conduct of research in all of its messiness is already moving in the direction of changes that I and others would like to think about more formally. How then to fit this messiness of practice into norms of method - or rather into the norms of the culture of informality of method that anthropology has cultivated? So, with a sense of the rather large shifts going on in an unmarked or subterranean way, the thing to do is to think of incremental, pragmatic, and tactical changes in techniques and practices that might make explicit, legitimate, and sculpt new norms of training and what is expected of standard research in anthropology. In fact, second and later projects in a career, while still operating under the basic premises and ideology of fieldwork, are no longer subject to its norms in the way that first projects under the training model are. That is why, in rethinking method in anthropology, it is so strategically important to focus on the apprentice dissertation process, where the current look and content of anthropological research is intentionally and unintentionally shaped. In a sense the whole system of knowledge production in anthropology weighs heavily on how first projects of research become formal products or results (at various stages, for example, what is expected of the dissertation, what is expected of first publications and especially, what is expected of the increasingly uneconomic publication of the ethnography as a prestige object - all in the shadow of alternative, developing internet modes of dissemination). Indeed, published ethnographies are messier (and more interesting) than ever (messy is a term that I used in the eighties to characterize their intentionally experimental nature). But messiness today, in my view, is not a result of intended experimentation with textual forms as in the Writing Culture period. Rather, the messiness that one sees in ethnographies today are symptoms and fragmentary patch-ups that register a research model that, to be frank, is ill-designed for the range of questions that it has been addressing in the realm of apprentice research. Experimentation, not with texts, but with the training model itself now has the potential of remaking the capacity and flexibility of classic research habits in anthropology that still exercise a powerful hold through a certain culture of professional production with the dissertation process at its heart, and with doing fieldwork at the heart of that. Anthropological research in the self-consciously interdisciplinary realm of science and technology studies is perhaps the de facto laboratory for evolving alternative characteristics of the ethnographic paradigm. But such research developed in interdisciplinary programs is subject to very different constraints (or opportunities) than similar research developed in anthropology programs (often in the name of medical anthropology), and these programs have their own

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orthodoxies of course (for example, much stimulating discussion of method has evolved around making distinctively anthropological ethnography out of the iconic, practice-oriented writings of Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, and Marilyn Strathern). Such programs are nonetheless a source of pedagogical techniques for rethinking the training model in anthropology, and more importantly, for extending these techniques to other areas of anthropological research in politics, art, religion, law, and economics, for example. The recent flowering of an anthropology of finance - and finance capitalism - is of particular interest because it represents precisely the sorts of changes in the practice of ethnography occurring in science studies, but in another domain, and pioneered in anthropology departments. Concretely and schematically then, the present training model in anthropology is two or three years in departmental residence developing a project for which research is one or two years of located fieldwork, followed by a period of write-up. In my experience and observation, most students come back from fieldwork with material inadequate to what they need for their original visions or statements of problem, which are usually construed far too abstractly and theoretically to design and conduct fieldwork. Dissertations, often at their best, provide conceptual clarifications derived from the unresolved data of fieldwork investigation. So for me knowing what the critical forms of data are for a fieldwork project is the most critical preparatory task - and to know this requires an ethnographic sensibility in operation at all stages of research from its inception. While there are practical career considerations that encourage the writing of dissertations as if they were the first drafts of books, the model for which is not classic ethnography but current and annually turning over exemplars of published ethnography (popular first works of the moment often written, ironically, in response to the inadequacies of dissertation fieldwork), I think that the dissertation deserves it own standards very different from the symptomatic messiness that characterizes published ethnography today. The latter is what becomes of research materials in the years after the dissertation - a critical postdoctoral process of repair, extension, and filling in of fieldwork that often gives the project a new complexion. This postdoctoral remaking of research is little noticed as part of method, but is often crucial to what emerges as published ethnography. In a redesign of the training model, what is now the postdoctoral treatment of fieldwork research would be an integral, and organic part of the ethnographic process as would the conception of a project before fieldwork. In sum, dissertation work is not a certain stage toward finished work, but a very uncertain process with characteristics of its own that needs to be rethought, especially as to what constitutes data for the kinds of questions that anthropologists are asking these days. As a tactical change in the present training model, I would suggest introducing a very explicit norm or premise of incompleteness into dissertation work, establishing clear limits and intellectual accountabilities of what the dissertation is to achieve within a broader design. The model I have in mind is that of the design studio, as I have seen practiced in architectural training.

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Now, would this clear definition of the dissertation genre, so to speak, as a more experimental space not so tied to the finished product (publication) disadvantage the student in the current assembly line of career advancement? Well, I dont think so, given that, as just suggested, ethnographies are importantly made in the largely unexamined postdoctoral process. Having a dissertation process more accountable, or creative, in terms of the data that fieldwork actually turns up, would stimulate much needed thinking about the post-dissertation production of finished ethnography, which I would like to see as part of the comprehensive apprentice research process in anthropology. The key tactical reform would be to rethink the Malinowskian core of research identity in anthropology as fieldwork far away so vividly evoked from Malinowski to Geertz, to blur its boundaries into a broader understanding of research production as design, governed by a speculative and found sense of ethnographic problem from the very inception of training. Training in anthropology would thus be being there from day one - what I talked about at one time as developing immediately a speculative research imaginary subject to revision by design and the learning of theory, history, etc. would not precede but be alongside this ideology of training anthropologists through all of its phases. There are many ways to imagine alternatives to the traditional training model of ethnographic practice, especially in its pedagogical context. My line of thought for this has developed not only from my own career trajectory and experience as a supervisor of graduate research, but through engagements with at least four other distinctive perspectives that have been invaluable for me to think in relation to. I cant do more than to note them here: I have been most directly working with Douglas Holmes in his research on central banking, and we in turn have evolved our discussions of changing research practices, especially in terms of first projects in anthropology, with reference to Paul Rabinows efforts to define the terms and practices of an anthropology of the contemporary (Rabinow and I have produced a volume of conversations, Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemporary, to be published soon); to the work of Marilyn Strathern and those who have been influenced by her methodological discussions, Annelise Riles, Hiro Miyazaki, and Bill Maurer; and to the work of Michael Fischer, Kim Fortun, and Chris Kelty, working within science studies and between science studies and anthropology with keen interests in pedagogical issues. MC and O: Students often worry about the reception of their dissertation, in and outside the academy. You introduce a 2005 article by referring to your shared conviction that changes in the forms and norms of anthropological knowledge must necessarily begin with a thorough and ethnographic understanding of how such knowledge is received (Brenneis and Marcus 2005:8). How should novice anthropologists orient their projects toward investigating the reception of their work? In addition, how should they steer a path between concern with the reception of their work among mentors, colleagues, and interlocutors and allowing such a concern to completely reshape their research projects? M: Classic anthropological ethnography, especially in its development in the apprentice project/dissertation form, was designed to provide answers, or at least data, to questions that anthropology had for it. Nowadays, anthropology itself does not pose these questions. Other domains of discussion and analysis do, some academic or interdisciplinary in the conventional

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sense; others not - and thus it is a contemporary burden of projects of anthropological research, and especially apprentice ones, to identify these question asking domains - domains of reception for particular projects of research - as part of learning the techniques of research itself. In this development, the function of the research project is not simply descriptive-analytic, to provide a contribution to an archive or debate that has been constructed by the discipline - it hasnt. At best contemporary anthropology provides a license and an authority to engage, not a reception itself. No wonder then the current dominant impulse and fashion at the core of the discipline to call for a public anthropology - it remains to think through what this means beyond doing good. In this license, the function of ethnographic research out of anthropology becomes a mediation in some sense; it sutures communities and contexts together in addressing those communities, in presenting its results in constructed contexts of collaboration as a key issue in the increasingly broader design of research beyond mere fieldwork. Indeed students are pursuing questions that fieldwork itself in its conventional aesthetics cant answer. And it is in the process of apprentice research - in dissertation making - that an anthropologist is most subject to these aesthetics and regulative ideals of research practice as they are imposed, not by rules of method, but by the profound and redundantly instilled psychodynamics of professional culture. Here the process on its own is not at all stuck, but in transition. What is missing is an articulation of these changes - and talking of the observable vulnerabilities of the old practices as a way to systematically formulate alternatives and modifications. For example, the reading of ethnographies does not so much serve in any straightforward way, as it once did, of teaching method - exemplars to follow or moves to try out - as collections of symptoms that provide clues to alternative pedagogical strategies. So ethnographies no longer reflect the classic fieldwork situation, but rather the broader topology of research, encompassing classic fieldwork, that requires a more complex notion like design. This is where anthropological models of collaboration, discussed below as a contemporary imperative and condition of inquiry across disciplines, could make a considerable difference. They immediately suggest a broader frame for constructing research than that which is focused on the norms for preparing for and conducting conventional fieldwork and then reporting on it in a dissertation. At present, as a halfway measure, what prevails is a renewed experimental ethos for the conduct of ethnographic research which makes a virtue of the contingencies deep within its traditional aesthetics, and which works very well for the exceptional talents who enter anthropological careers by embracing this experimental ethos. In producing standard work, however, the experimental ethos serves far less well - it produces more often rhetorically driven repetitive versions of singular arguments and insights. A fuller account is badly needed of what kinds of questions contemporary ethnography answers, with and in relation to whom, what results it might be expected to produce on the basis of what data. All of these very elementary questions are in urgent need of being addressed again with ingenuity and theoretical insight. There are a number of ways to produce such reconsideration by looking ethnographically at current negotiations and compromises with the aesthetics of method in the course of dissertation projects as they unfold.

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At present, if one listens to student tales of fieldwork today, what transpires is far more complicated and interesting than expectations of fieldwork reporting allows for. To probe the collaborative dimensions of contemporary research, which the present ideological tendencies surrounding collaboration encourage anyhow, would generate informally and formally different accounts of fieldwork, leading to a much needed broadening of the pedagogical expectations of dissertation research. MC and O: Lets talk about the identification and representation of the anthropologically emergent, a concept that features recent writings by you and your colleagues. Dealing with the emergent in a dissertation project brings several challenges to the fore; here are three we wonder about. First, is one of the products of such anthropology a revitalized kind of anthropological forecasting? Second, students we know have set out to follow specific emerging things only to watch them dissipate or disappear in the course of fieldwork: a company dissolves, a research enterprise is not refunded, a virtual social group disbandsall of which run the risk of being addressed awkwardly in prefaces or epilogues. How can a student working within the confines of the dissertation project format (working alone, for one year maximum, with limited funding, a novice at collaboration with interlocutors) better handle the powerful vagaries of emergence? Third, what are the dangers that the focus on emergence is foreclosing other arenas of investigation? M: Well, in my view, the emergent has nothing to do with forecasting nor is it a concept for the literal unexpected changes that occur during the conduct of fieldwork. Rather it is a conceptual issue of crucial importance for refunctioning the practices of ethnography by trying to come to terms with an elusive, but necessary temporal state. Emergence has been the key temporality in which a lot of work in cultural analysis has been conceived and its objects constructed over the past two decades (for example, it is Raymond Williams temporality of structures of feeling, a chronotope which many cultural analysts, including ethnographers, are trying to grasp in their work). Studying the contemporary is really trying to come to terms with objects and subjects located in the present and its recent past becoming the near future. This, I would say, is the temporality in which much anthropology devoted to the study of change tries to understand/interpret its subjects. Methodologically, this means that in designing research, the setting of a project in time is as important as setting it in space/place (the being there trope). Much practical thought could be given to how this temporality of emergence figures in doing research. In terms of ethnographic engagements with particular subjects it means understanding them in relation to the temporal dimensions of possibility, anticipation, and emergence in constituting their own life worlds. I think Paul Rabinows writing on how concepts around the temporality of emergence affect anthropological inquiry has been the most analytically useful. MC and O: In the Pisarro interview, you aver that the current anthropological disciplinary center, where general expectations are formed about what anthropological research should do and be about, is actually not centered at all, that it is actually fragmented intellectually and socially. You indicate that it has lost its collective center of gravity and lacks clear ideas about

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anthropologys relationship with the contemporary world. To borrow from our business counterparts with whom we both had some experience before anthropology, we imagine that if we were to ask for professional advice in addressing the anxieties of the anthropological inside or center, anthropologists collectively would be advised to identify objectives around which a new inside or center could emerge. Is it time to consciously identify such objectives or is this antithetical to the anthropological enterprise? M: I think it is antithetical to the anthropological enterprise, or at least to the kind of professional culture that anthropology has developed versus that of business counterparts. Anthropology never had models of objectives, etc. It has had focusing debates, figures, and a continuity of figures, and a continuity of topics and interests in the past that give it a centering. All that is left of that in a structured way is the ethnographic training model. MC and O: Could you outline what are the key differences between innovation as you are cultivating it in the Center for Ethnography, as opposed to experimentation as we came to understand it after the critiques of the eighties? M: Innovation is just a generic that I use to discuss the purpose of the Center for Ethnography. Experimentation is a more important term. As applied in the 1980s, experiment meant either the freedom to explore new textual forms for ethnography (Writing Culture) or to explore new (for anthropology) techniques of doing critical analysis with ethnographic materials, through juxtapositions, for example - as in Anthropology as Cultural Critique (Marcus and Fischer 1986). The major referent, then, I think was experimentation of avant-gardes in the realm of art, literature, and the humanities. Since then, however, the other domain of reference of experiment - in the natural sciences - has become important for thinking of experiment in/as ethnographic research. However, this is not the ideal of experiment as a kind of rigor in the natural sciences, but rather experiment as the generator of new ideas, concepts, and sources of data. Work in science studies, by Peter Galison and Hans-Jrg Rheinberger, especially (with his discussions of experimental systems), among others, has been particularly important in providing very detailed understandings of experiment in science with which new ideologies of experiment could be conceived for critical research in anthropology since the 1980s. MC and O: Students work to make their dissertations really innovative, hoping that our work wont molder on a library shelf, doomed by the narrowness of its topic or the lack of a prime discovery. To this end, we hope our research topics will get a momentous makeover in the field and in the subsequent write-up process. For example, the successful student is usually one who 1) went into the field to find one thing and discovered something unexpected and interesting to anthropologists at large, and 2) is able to use data she gathered on a specific topic to shed light on a classic big problem like the human or life. Can you comment on the topics of topical transformation and the trope of discovery in fieldwork? M: Let me take your question about what has happened to the key trope of discovery in the pursuit of fieldwork and work through an extended example of how rethinkings of the fieldwork

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process might be evolved from critical observations about well-established norms and tropes of the present professional culture of method. One common form that the desire for discovery in ethnography takes now (finding something new, even exotic, that the cross-cultural or other classically satisfied) is in the stories of correction as a virtue that one often finds in published ethnographies. I intended or expected one thing in preparation, but found another, better thing through the unforeseen circumstances of fieldwork - and usually this other better thing is a discovery, something counterintuitive and a critique of conventional categories and arguments. I tend to think that as a matter of pedagogy this appealing story that undermines the arguments with which one enters fieldwork signals a flaw of method and in fact should be anticipated, moved back as a design feature in conceiving dissertations from inception in terms of an ethnographic imagination. Thus the correction story signals a new standard for the starting frame or design of ethnography. The broader assumption here is that the positions, arguments, and terms for a project that are acquired by reading theory before fieldwork as a means of defining its significant problem already have various expressions in the fieldwork setting itself (they are part of native points of view - especially when it comes to experts, institutions). This premise engages all the contemporary concern (in the work, for example, of Bill Maurer, Doug Holmes, Paul Rabinow, and Marilyn Strathern) with counterpart knowledge - they use our concepts in at least overlapping ways; they already think in some form what we think. These symmetrical or parallel expressions should be speculated about, anticipated, and subject to revision in designing fieldwork. This early speculative projection into fieldwork material as it might be imagined should be at least as equal to theory in defining the problem of research. The point here is to set fieldwork up in such a way that the shape or form of the data are emphasized and thus delegitimates the correction as a trope of ethnographic discovery. So preparation should be a laying out or mapping of the critical ecologies already present in the intended scenes and sites of fieldwork, acting on the premise that all critical ideas in theory are already in play in the field and can be mapped as a matter of design before one goes into the field. Then imagine inhabiting the social location of one such set of positions. This would be affiliating, orienting to found critique as the focused site or scene of intensive fieldwork. This is a strategy of research that selects or commits to one position or set of positions as constituting the equivalent of the native point of view in classic ethnography. Next imagine moving beyond this orienting affiliation to some sort of mediating position between it and another site or object that it references. Now some contemporary ethnographies of the global move in just this way. Such ethnographies report on odysseys among sites as movement between scales of power and knowledge. Anna Tsings recent work Friction (2005) works much in this way.

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Thus, the correction story, after the fact of fieldwork, so to speak, becomes anticipated as a matter of design exercise as part of the mapping the initial engagements with distributed knowledges probed from an ethnographic curiosity at the outset, and often at home. Also anticipated would be the eventual move beyond the parallel knowledge systems to peoples and places that they reference and incorporate. Ultimately the work of ethnography is a powerful, critical mediation between sites of knowledge making and sites of everyday life that they impact at different scales. The current correction story is a symptom, as I have called it, of the inability of present ethnographic design to anticipate the sorts of relation which it wants to embed in mobile, multisited strategies of fieldwork elsewhere. What is necessary then for altered pedagogy is to think of a set of exercises like this to evolve a design scheme from close, critical observations of current practices and readings of the changing, symptomatic tropes of ethnography that they produce in new terrains of topic and problem. MC and O: The question of anthropological ethics in the fieldwork design process and in the field is a hot one among students we know, particularly when we find that the standard formal modalities of research ethics do not help us define ourselves as professionals. We are caught between those modalities and our interlocutors familiarity with popular images of the ethical anthropologist as friendly advocate or objective observer. For example, in the trading space of internship and collaboration in the field, Valerie wasnt prepared for the expectations about anthropological ethics that preceded her. Some interlocutors expect her to act as a culture broker in exchange for information or access, while others challenge her objectivity, joke that she is breaking the prime directive, or ask if shes started to go native. Do you see the nascent formation of an ethics of collaboration, for example, one that does not just follow what you have termed elsewhere as the unquestioned liberal good of collateral virtue? M: The spectral figure of fieldwork as collaboration has long haunted the overwhelmingly individualist conventions of producing ethnography. From time to time, the exposure of the repressed or suppressed collaborative relations of fieldwork have served the purposes of critique (as in the 1980s) or the effort to make fieldwork normatively collaborative in the highly politicized terrain of social movements among the peoples who have been anthropologys traditional subjects. And there has been a long, but intermittent history of collaborative research in anthropology in its own self-organization and in its joining interdisciplinary projects, corresponding to periods of expansion, optimism, and the availability of resources in the development of university disciplines (famously, for example, the Torres Strait, and the Chiapas project; infamously, the Neel/Michigan studies of the Yanomami). In the context of the history of fieldwork, it has been primarily ethical concern that has driven the motivation to encourage an explicit, normative modality of fieldwork as collaboration. In the context of the history of anthropology as an institution, it has been primarily disciplinary

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ambition and sometimes intellectual excitement in the making and breaking of reigning paradigms that has driven collaboration in the past. But, today, I believe that the clear salience of a norm encouraging collaboration in anthropology has a different generic source and a different expression than in the past. The dominant form of collaboration of the present era is the technology driven collaboratory (wikipedia: an environment where participants make use of computing and communication technologies to access shared instruments and data, as well as to communicate with others). Collaboratories have dramatically encouraged the adoption and experiment with forms of collaborations within the traditions and cultures of inquiry across many disciplines and in the way that universities are restructuring themselves, and in some, like anthropology, however positively collaboration was valorized in the past, the current tendency, originating in efforts to organize knowledge making within the oceanic realm of connectivity, is experienced as pressure, as imperative to which the reaction, while it might be creative, is also anxious, sometimes defensive. The problem for ethnography in assimilating collaborative strategies and norms of research practice, finally, is not so much to preserve doctrinally the individualism it entails (that is the preservation of individual performance, expressions, and rewards of inquiry), by providing a cocoon or a protective mimicry for it in the current environment, to make it pass like a form of the native emergent collaboratories today. Rather the problem is to preserve what is very valuable and precious of an older, simpler technology of knowing that the individualist aesthetic of ethnography entails even in its new environments of collaborative and distributed knowledge forms, organized in oceanic cyber-space, which it engages in closely observed conventional sites (laboratories, in board rooms, in villages, and other existential locations). So experimental collaborative strategies of ethnography now in anthropology arise not so much from its history of ethical concern for the other, so to speak, but from new ecologies and scales of research which challenge anthropologists to produce the scene of fieldwork and its aesthetics within and across scales that are now hyper-organizing as collaboratories, that are imbued with the vision thing, imaginaries of practice that are conceived in emergence. And it seems to be the job of a wide swath of social/cultural anthropological research today to work through these native points of view - to evoke the old interpretative object of ethnography - as imaginaries of anticipation and possibility found within the collaboratories, or assemblages, of institutional and other sorts of actors in the contemporary. The emergence of forms and norms of collaboration in ethnographic method today, alongside and operating within its complex objects of study - themselves collaboratories - would function as cocoons or incubators of concepts, ideas, shared with subjects, which serve to rescale and slow them down, and modulate them to the tempo at which anthropologists have traditionally done their work. Anthropological collaboration of this sort would create a belated, but relevant form of ethnographic knowledge in relation to the scale and pace of its contemporary objects and contexts of study. So there are two functions of collaboration now in the reinvention of anthropological ethnography - one is to create the conditions I describe just above within the bounds of research projects. (A treatise would now be required to describe systematically what would actually

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happen to the tropes, habits, and aesthetics of the anthropological tradition of research thus preserved. This treatise should be pedagogical in nature, as I will argue, since this is where method is most at stake in anthropology today). The other function is to create an adapted identity and space for ethnographic projects to operate in the collaboratory arrangements of others as subjects. The individual fieldworker in these complex spaces is increasingly an alien, uneasy presence for which mere affiliation with a disciplinary or professional community/collective is not a sufficient surrogate for belonging to a collaborative research effort of varying scale. Collaborations built into ethnographic research provide identity and space in topological terms to relate the human-scale of ethnography, to which its aesthetics of method remains committed, to the complex scales of collaboration in which it must define its own objects and boundaries. MC and O: How do the demands of new anthropological methods and practice that you and your colleagues advocate, such as collaboration and the anthropology of the emergent and contemporary, change the pre-grad school qualifications and experience students need to have to ask the right questions, gain something to offer for collaboration, find a promising field, and go there? Should students now also prepare differently at the undergraduate level? M: I think as always we work closely with the motivations and intentions, visions even, that bring students to grad training - very little of it is formally or predictably shaped by pre-grad experience in school. I can only say that because of the quickly changing topics of interest in anthropological research, what might specifically excite someone in undergraduate work to enter anthropology is unlikely to remain the field of exploration in graduate school, at least in the way it was experienced in undergraduate courses. Topics are likely to be exhausted, things have moved on. There is tremendous emphasis in elite graduate programs to be original, to open new questions and fields not to add to a well-established literature. There are both virtues and problems with this condition of shaping graduate work. Anyhow the contemplation of fieldwork forces change in graduate projects and interests: the sooner this happens the better. This is in itself a premise of the expected learning process in graduate training. Most of the shifts I have in mind in the training model allow for this early and productive jolt in terms of the enthusiasms that bring students into graduate training. MC and O: Do you see junior faculty recruitment practices changing as labels for theoretical orientation have changed and as there are varying interpretations of what area specialization means today? M: I am participating in my first assistant professor search in social/cultural anthropology (at UCI) in the last six or seven years. The job description was broad. To read the files has been an educational experience for me. Area specialization remains a substrate of consideration of candidates - what regions they worked in - but very few of the applicants present anything like basic area research, taking on issues of identity and characteristics of an area. Rather most are involved with analyzing current events - global processes, local traumas and responses. The most creative projects, in fact, eschew the local analytically while still describing it, and are indeed

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involved conceptually with multi-sited terrains or what the Latourians would call actor-networks. So, yes, I do think there are - and I have seen - changes in what junior faculty candidates offer as research and how they present themselves. One thing that impresses me is how self-contained first projects are presented as products of research, and how sometimes unrelated or distantly related envisioned second projects are in the same area terrain of specialty (it is de rigueur in making applications to give a sense of future research direction and in my view this currently suggests the fault line between first and second projects). MC and O: What do you see as the positive and negative consequences of your observation in the Pisarro interview that there is no intellectual divide between your academic generation and the next? You seem to indicate that there has not been a revolutionary overhaul or questioning of the intellectual inheritance we received from you and your generation, and state that our generation only differs from your in our idea of how we should make our careers. M: I dont think I have an interesting answer to this one. I mean simply that the intellectual capital post-structuralism, feminism etc that was pioneered in my student and early professional days is still the intellectual capital for students. I find this comforting myself. The contexts and technologies of professional work are very different students really do work in relation to other constituencies that the professional community does not recognise. Not to integrate this into professional norms and practices is not good but in complicated ways. So this is too imprecise a question for me to deal with here. MC and O: To what extent do you see changes in anthropology as a profession as an American phenomenon, temporally, culturally or otherwise and how do you situate that in relation to overall change in anthropology internationally and to the situation of students trained as undergraduates in other countries who enter the American anthropological training system and its predicaments? M: The sentiments and positions that I have argued are very much within the context of how anthropology has developed in the U.S. over the past two decades. But based on my travels to contexts of anthropology elsewhere (Brazil, Italy, Greece, France, South Africa, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, China, Taiwan, Argentina, Colombia, Canada etc.), my attempt to explain my positions especially regarding the change in the conditions for doing ethnography resonates. What vary a lot internationally are the political contexts in which anthropology is practiced and the degree to which it can be self-critical in an open way. In general, in many places, I find anthropologys professional cultures intellectually conservative and not very self-confident, but also I find that practicing anthropologists take these cultures with a grain of salt, so to speak, and a bit cynically (as they often take the university systems in which they are embedded). In contrast, on an individual basis, I find what practicing anthropologists are actually doing in their research (and sometimes in their teaching) in many places fascinating, diverse, often more sophisticated, and certainly more relevant to public spheres than what goes on in U.S. anthropology. But this practice would never be reflected in a discussion about the profession,

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about method, or the state of the dissertation as I have done here. I suppose this kind of discussion would be thought of as nave - the academic institutions are what they are, overly bureaucratic and generally poorly supported, so that salvation is what can be done in individual performance and what circles of friends and colleagues think of it. In the U.S. there has been more faith and more rewards within the institutional hierarchies of academia, but this may be changing. So, yes, this must create real challenge to expectations of students from other countries with undergraduate backgrounds in anthropology who enter US graduate programs. Joining US departments as graduate students really is joining intellectual communities substantively regulated by academic bureaucracies and professional cultures that must be taken perhaps more to heart and less cynically than their counterparts elsewhere. MC and O: In the spirit of reporting on the doing of different things with methods and ethos, can you describe the results of a UC Irvine Para-site [http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~ethnog/ ] collaboration or two, particularly how they are contributing to the development of new kinds of student projects? M: A description and rationale of the para-site experiments, as a student oriented project of the Center for Ethnography that I established at UCI, can be found on the Centers website. The idea is to provide the opportunity to materialize and explore the collaborative relations of fieldwork in many evolving dissertation projects in a disciplinary situation where such relations have become essential at the level of intellectual partnership but for which there is no norm or recognition as yet of such practices. At appropriate points in her research, a student would bring important intellectual partnerships of her research into the academic conference/seminar context and would carefully orchestrate such events both to produce results for research that would otherwise come from fully normalized techniques of methodological collaboration and to educate academics who attend, who are both participants and audience in these events. So the para-site experiments are one example of a stealthy, tactical creation of a surrogate for a lack or need in the current explicit model of fieldwork. The para-site experiments suggest and encourage the creation of a practice from tendencies that already strongly exist in research projects. Our first para-site project, run by advanced graduate student, Jesse Cheng at UCI, concerned a study of activities to oppose/mitigate the death penalty within the professional practices of lawyering. Cheng, a Harvard Law School graduate, did his fieldwork as an activist within this group of lawyers. The research has gone in many directions, but it has depended crucially on working out classic fieldwork relations with these lawyers. Cheng found his own terrain of inquiry through that of the lawyers. He needed a space - a para-site, within but away from the scenes of fieldwork - to work out parallels and differences within his partnership with the death penalty lawyers. In bringing the lawyers to a para-site event at UCI this is what he was able to work out - indeed a key conceptual pivot point of his fieldwork.

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The event clarified two things: where in the various investigatory practices of the lawyers that the equivalent of a para-ethnographic interest or perspective emerged, and for Cheng, it suggested what site of reception might be the key one for his research - not the lawyers themselves, not their clients, and not anthropology itself that has no developed discourse on this issue, but rather the quite influential body of discourse on the death penalty produced by ethicists, philosophers, and policy intellectuals. It would be necessary for Cheng to make this arena of reception a site of ethnographic investigation to be folded into his study that focused in inception on the mitigation lawyers. So, the para-site event clarified the ethnographic focus in his work and defined the other critical site of investigation to which he might move to make it an effective project of critique. So, the para-site event (or events) indeed does conceptual, intellectual work half-inside, halfoutside the space of fieldwork and effectively accesses and develops the submerged, or methodologically unrecognized conditions of collaboration that effectively guide and center many individualist projects today. Not all dissertation projects will provide the resources for doing para-site experiments within them, and there is a considerable range of characteristics in which they might manifest themselves, but they are a good example of what might done to tweak or morph the common situation of dissertation research today in the direction alternative practices. MC and O: What kinds of emerging or as yet unpublished collaborations with elites have you seen that you regard as successful? M: Despite my career-long identification with research on elites, a never quite established specialty in conventional anthropology, I think the idea of elite studies as a specialty now in anthropology is belated. Most projects now begin or involve ethnographic engagements within sites or systems where knowledge and power are produced. So the study of elites is part of the fabric of work. For example, much work in science, technology, finance, and politics involve collaborations with elites, or as I like to say, counterparts. Studying up is not so much the sense of working with elites today as studying sideways - connoting shifting partnership/subject relationsas Ulf Hannerz (2004) termed it in his book on foreign correspondents (this, in turn, is consistent with Pierre Bourdieus sense that academics should view themselves structurally as a kind of elite, albeit as a dominated segment of the dominant). Really, the whole Late Editions project of the 1990s (Marcus 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000a, 2000b) even though it was not about methods and ethnographic research projects, was a foreshadowing of the conditions of most such projects by and on elites today. Still, from a methodological angle, what the dynamics of relations with elite subjects are today in terms of the traditional models in use of anthropological fieldwork (which assume and desire solidarity with ones subjects) is very worth consideration in the context of designing the sort of collaborative fieldwork in topologies of multi-sited space that I have been discussing. What I have learned and want to teach about these relations follows the trajectory of my successive career projects: originally dissertation fieldwork in residence on noble estates of Tonga where a system of feudal agrarian relations still operates; then fieldwork on the inside of dynasties of capitalist wealth where I eventually tried to make the

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wealth itself (its abstract structures as well as its organization of legal and financial expertise) more the object of ethnographic study than the families that it supported (this was my first foray into the ethnography of experts); and since the late 1990s an opportunistic study of the contemporary Portuguese nobility through a collaboration with elites to study a well marked classic elite group. I should say that the Portuguese work has been for me primarily of interest as an experimental ground for research practices. Fernando Mascarenhas, the Marques of Fronteira and Alorna, a partner, patron, and subject in this research, and I have coauthored a book, Ocasio (Opportunity in Portuguese, 2005 AltaMira) that consists of several months of email exchanges prior to our first period of fieldwork among contemporary noble houses. Embedded in these exchanges, and sometimes as their explicit subject, are considerations of how to design fieldwork on elites which are illustrative of more general conditions of the negotiation of collaboration with counterparts (sideways) or elite subjects today. These conditions are more fully and explicitly considered in the volume of conversations with Paul Rabinow that I mentioned - Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemporary - that has in mind the sorts of research situations that I have outlined here: working ethnographically through zones and structures of knowledge and expertise so as to constitute almost any subject today as an anthropologically conventional subject of culture with which we have been traditionally comfortable. So, for example, the concerns that Rabinow and I have for the differing temporal interests that anthropologist and partners in research have in the ideas that they share, or for the need of a modified conceptual vocabulary or prime metaphor for describing primary fieldwork relations (adjacency in Rabinows case, appropriation in my own) all presumes research with elite subjects and a complex politics of a multi-sited terrain as basic and generic to ethnography today. How stories of fieldwork are told in imparting training in anthropology or how they are told over beer and in the corridors has been a crucial medium for teaching method and its aesthetics in the professional culture of anthropology. And here I would say the increasing necessity of working collaboratively with elites, and counterparts has been basic to broader issues of the design of research - what fieldwork is today. MC and O: From a time when anthropology was built on collecting native points of view, contemporarily many anthropology students in the US are natives to the places and processes they are now being trained to research and many of them actively utilize that identity in the conduct of research. What interesting outcomes or new difficulties do you see coming from this form of complicity? When such anthropologists build on this pre-existing complicity (whether an ethnicity or an expertise) to assist the conduct of research, what happens to the problem of going native? M: There is a lot now on this question in terms of the old here-there framings of ethnographic research in which your question is couched. I have nothing new or more to say about this question in that frame. There are some interesting discussions of bi-cultural or transcultural identities of ethnographers (perhaps beginning with an article by Dorinne Kondo (1990) and Lila Abu-Lughods Halfie article (1991), but also in the prefaces to works, for example, like Teresa

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Caldeiras City of Walls (2000) and Xiang Biaos Global Body Shopping (2007). If culture as such is no longer the focal object of ethnography then cultural identity as such is not the issue in the sort of complicity you raise. Rather transcultural identity creates a special kind of brokerage in the multi-sited (cosmopolitan?) terrains of many ethnographic projects. MC and O: The natural sciences and engineering often represent their advancement by adopting new collective knowledge production processes, particularly efforts to structure projects collectively. Youve talked elsewhere about the problem of the lone wolf anthropologist; is it time to rethink this model, even for dissertation projects? For example, the subjects in Valeries field (space agencies) now create their one-of-a-kind machines and missions in concurrent design facilities. Experts with different skills and career experiences come together to create simultaneously a project concept, feasibility assessments, alternative scenarios, new technologies and techniques, future trend expectations, an implementation plan, and a process for evaluation. This process accounts for factors and contingencies that exist on scales that are now unimaginable to the lone engineer. Is it time for anthropologists who are reflexively in and of the world system to work more like this? M: What you describe are the sorts of working collaborations that are the norm in interdisciplinary situations which traditional disciplines in the natural sciences not only take for granted but also increasingly presume as the condition for innovation and progress in research. No such environment exists either within the social sciences or humanities, let alone anthropology itself. The model of individualist research is deeply embedded in anthropologys aesthetics of method, and any kind of wholesale change, especially in the training model, toward norms of collaboration is unlikely. However, in the spirit of stealthy, tactical remakings of the established norms that I have cultivated in these comments (e.g., the para-site experiments of the Center for Ethnography) much can be done, project-by-project. To the extent that collaborations and collective research activities themselves become both the object and milieu of ethnographic study, there is a very good chance that expectations or a norm of collaboration will eventually emerge in the design of ethnography. For now, researchers return to an anthropological professional community that encourages cooperation, but still valorizes individual projects and reports on collaborative forms elsewhere. References Cited Abu-Lughod, Lila 1991 Writing against Culture. In Recapturing anthropology: working in the present. R.G. Fox, ed. Pp 137-63. Santa Fe, N.M.: School of American Research Press: Distributed by the University of Washington Press. Brenneis, Don, and George E. Marcus 2005 In Between, and On the Margins of, the Shining Centers on the Hill. Anthropology News, September 2005:8-9, 12.

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Caldeira, Teresa Pires do Rio 2000 City of walls: crime, segregation, and citizenship in So Paulo. Berkeley: University of California Press. Clifford, James, and George E. Marcus 1986 Writing culture: the poetics and politics of ethnography: a School of American Research advanced seminar. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hannerz, Ulf 2004 Foreign news: exploring the world of foreign correspondents. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kondo, Dorinne K. 1990 Crafting selves: power, gender, and discourses of identity in a Japanese workplace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Marcus, George E. 1993 Perilous states: conversations on culture, politics, and nation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1995 Technoscientific imaginaries: conversations, profiles, and memoirs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1996 1997 Cultural producers in perilous states: editing events, documenting change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1998 Corporate futures: the diffusion of the culturally sensitive corporate form. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1999 Paranoia within reason: a casebook on conspiracy as explanation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2000a Para-sites: a casebook against cynical reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2000b Zeroing in on the year 2000: the final edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Connected: engagements with media. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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2001 From Rapport Under Erasure to Theaters of Complicit Reflexivity. Qualitative Inquiry 7(4):519-528. Marcus, George E., and Michael M. J. Fischer 1986 Anthropology as cultural critique: an experimental moment in the human sciences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Marcus, George E., and Fernando Mascarenhas 2005 Ocasio: the marquis and the anthropologist, a collaboration. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press. Pisarro, Marcelo 2006 Entonces, qu estudiaba la antropologa? Revista , Ao III N 148, Diario Clarn, Buenos Aires, July 29: pp10-12. Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt 2005 Friction: an ethnography of global connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Xiang, Biao 2007 Global "body shopping": an Indian labor system in the information technology industry. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

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