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Renato Rosaldo's Ilongot Headhunting, 1883-1974

In other words, Rosaldo recognizes that life, including ethnography, is dynamic, changing, evolving. In order to minimize biases, he honors this dynamic process by expanding his perspective historically.

He also reduces biases by eliminating the need for a solid "image" of the Ilongots, disclaiming the possibility of capturing the reality of these peoples' lives in a single study: "I shall argue that the image of the timeless primitive is not a finding, but an illusion created by the preeminent methods of anthropological research" (1).

One way Rosaldo avoids traditional Western-oriented biases is to take the Ilongots on their own terms, to assess their society according to that society's realities: "The scope of my project thus definitively moved beyond social structure to encompass the distinctive ways in which Ilongot conduct is culturally patterned, institutionally grounded, and historically produced" (19).

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...

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Renato Rosaldo's Ilongot Headhunting, 1883-1974. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 06:00, December 19, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1304283794.html
 
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