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Welcome! I am Jason Nguyen, a graduate student in ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington, and this blog is where I make observations about music, culture, and academic life.

Inherited burdens: A brief reflection on reflexivity

I was re-reading some notes I had taken on Geertz’s Works and Lives tonight while working on a paper for my fieldwork class.  I appended the following bit to my reflection/summary of the work:

[…]We share a genealogy with those scholars who had transitioned into that post-modern moment, but the traits have been remixed into an altogether new creature.  Even if we are, like those who came before, somewhat hypochondriacal in our sensibilities, those sensibilities began as nascent in the minds of our teachers, passed on to us more-or-less fully formed, and to which we must then react as second-hand participants to someone else’s formative moment.  Our reflexivities are not entirely our own–I suppose they never really are, but we are so self-conscious about our self-consciousness that we are necessarily making different choices than our forebears.

What are those choices?  I’m still working on that.  Need to flesh that out.

And that’s where I’m at–the bold bit is indeed in my notes and is the main reason for this post.  There’s no doubt that a generation of anthropologists raised on the scholarship of a previous reflexive generation will come to different conclusions and ideas…but at this juncture, what specific differences have you noticed?  Can we even really know now, or do we have to wait until we’re old and another generation tells us what we were obsessed with back in 2009?

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