AO. discursive risk - Biruk.

  • AO: As an anthropologist and social scholor of scientists, Biruk is able to cover the topic from a wide range of angles. She focuses largely on the nano, data, techno, material and micro levels of analyses. She has choosen a particular community of researchers and a particular type of data (demographic critical health data) who she then follows from end (research design) to end (presentation of results). She foregrounds her work with and experiences of the research assistants (which she is explicit about in the introduction).
  • AO: Countering common representations of fieldworkers as intimately familiar with the people and places they collect data from and in, and as natural translators between global and local, Crystal Biruk suggests that it is through fieldworkers’ engagement with data that they gain “local knowledge”. Amid countless accounts that narrate how local knowledge is cannibalized or exploited by global projects, the case of fieldworks in Malawi (and hardware entrepreneurs in Nairobi Coban 2018) illustrates that local knowledge comes to exist - and to gain value - because of them (Biruk 2018: 83).
  • Local global discourse reified further by anthropologists: page 208: “While this book has shown in detail how survey projects (which resemble in some important ways hundreds of other projects operating in Africa) do not so much intervene, treat, or change the contexts they enter as they coconstitute them, the anthropologist is still expected to provide the kinds of cultural knowledge that can enhance or fit into culturally relevant programes and palns that take context for granted and reify the tropes of local and global.”


Analytic (Question)




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