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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Romancing the Kalahari: personal journeys of methodological discovery
Authors:Jeursen, BelindaISNI
Tomaselli, Keyan G.ISNI
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:research methods
Abstract:The scene for this personal journey of discovery is set in Otjozondjupa (formerly Eastern Bushmanland) in Namibia, where both the authors had done research among the Ju/'hoansi. On the basis of their experience they explore the new methodological possbilities offered by autoethnography and personal narrative. They see a fundamental part of the research narrative as a version of travel writing, intended to carry within it an experimental analysis of tourism as both a personal and a social practice. Autoethnography is a recent form of writing which not only enables researchers to make explicit in their methodology the moral-procedural dilemmas confronting them in the field, but also actively encourages readers of the research data to think with and against such narratives. All this leads to the realization that all who were involved in the research project in Otjozondjupa were never visitors, but always strangers. Tourists were there to give money and to receive what the Ju/'hoansi thought they should receive, but whether they wanted to or not, they could not reciprocate as the local people remained incurious about these intruders. The authors conclude that the realities of people's lives have no place in this kind of relationship, because the symbols cannot truthfully represent their bearers. Tourists are there to be entertained, not to find out about the people's problems and the hosts are incontrovertibly not interested in the problems of the tourists. Interaction has to remain at the level of stereotypes and this does not encourage the breaking down of myths. Demystification is not part of the package. Encounters remain pure theatre with exchanges between actors and audience. Bibliogr., notes [ASC Leiden abstract]