Recalibrating scale, rupturing coloniality: On relational ethnography and its postcolonial reckonings

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Abstract

Taking as its point of departure extant concerns about the Eurocentric nature of sociological knowledge production, and its inadequacy in dealing with questions of race, power, and coloniality, this article examines the hitherto unexplored significance of relational ethnography for postcolonial inquiry. It traces the critical coordinates of a relational turn in ethnography, endorsing how a recalibration of scale, and a commitment to crafting sociological analyses around multiple points of vantage, can support a decentring of Western ontologies which have long defined the narratives threads of history and social theory. The reflexive exposition that follows invokes my fieldwork experiences in Ghana, West Africa, to illustrate how a relational praxis (re)animated by postcolonial theory can at once rupture those hegemonic arrangements of knowledge-power that have long undergirded imperial frames of modernity, and reconstitute future narratives that speak to the relational entanglements which bind the tied fates of the postcolonial North and South.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnography
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2020

Keywords

  • ethnography
  • inequality
  • postcolonialism
  • power
  • Relationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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