his century; the point is methodological, for just as I view the Ilongots in historical perspective, I must see myself in the same way (1).
Rosaldo, Renato. Ilongot Headhunting, 1883-1974. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1980.
Rosaldo also allows the Ilongots to speak for themselves in narrative form. Traditional ethnographers might protest that such a methodology might sidestep some of the biases of the Western ethnographer, but it also introduces the biases of the Ilongots themselves. In other words, why should the ethnographer take these people at their word? What ensures that what they are telling Rosaldo is true? However, Rosaldo does not take the narratives at face value as accurate or comprehensive portraits of Ilongot life and reality. Instead, he considers the narratives in the context of his own observations and non-narrative research. Also, the author argues that "ethnographers should attend carefully to compositional [narrative] modes, for what we have to say is rarely separable from how we say it" (21). In other words, even if the Ilongots were not portraying Ilongot reality in an objective, linear or accurately representational way, their narratives would still reveal much about their lives and their perspectives on reality. For example, the narratives of the Ilongots reveal that "one of the most deeply held Ilongot values is that their lives unfold more through active human improvisation than in accord with socially given plans" (23). The researcher who insists on seeing the Ilongots' lives as being in accord with such "socially given plans" will simply never come to the kind of "historical understanding" Rosaldo seeks. Such a researcher will suffer from a conceptual bias which will prevent his study from having any significance, except as a portrait of his own biases.
In other words, Rosaldo recognizes that life, including ethnography, is dynamic, changing, evolving. In order to minimize biases, he honors this dynamic process by expandi