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Forte Maximilian C.

From Smoke Cerimonies To Cyberspace: Globalized Indigenety, MultiI-Sited Research, and Internet.


It is arguable that the "gloom and doom" phase, particularly in North American Anthropology, could not have come at a more inopportune time.  The motivation in making this observation stems from the transformation of the realities that ethnographers research into more complex subjects, requiring new methods, broadened analytical frames, and taking us into new fora of communication and cultural and interpersonal interaction.  Ethnography has become more challenging and promises richer insights than ever before as a result of phenomena such as community building in cyberspace and the transnationalization of putatively local, Indigenous communities and issues.  In this paper I examine these subjects through reflections on my twenty-one months of field research among the Caribs of Trinidad (still underway), by moving back and forth between the description of a reconstructed indigenous ritual, and the field methods that are used in gathering the data necessary for the description.  In this ritual I see a renegotiation of symbolic capital that spans local, national, regional and global levels. 

The field experience in itself, and the data that is uncovered by multi-sited means, stimulates questions that have some impact on anthropological theory.  In particular, I will discuss the Smoke Ceremony, as practiced in this newly "reborn" community of people who are emerging from a creole and capitalist society and claiming an indigenous identification.  This identification is developed and defined in and through a local-global network of resurgent indigeneity.  I thus highlight the extensive web of local, national and transnational cultural brokers linking this small Carib community to the Trinidadian diaspora, internationalized Indigenous symbols and resources, and American Indian movements, with the revelation of the multiple interests being vested in the reconstruction of local indigeneity.  In the process I hope to provide a further assessment and elaboration of the value of multi-sited research in stemming perceptions of the demise of the discipline.
Department of Anthropology The University of Adelaide

  tags razza, etnicitÓ, antropologia,