Teaching the field: the order, ordering, and scale of knowledge

  • Alberto Corsín Jiménez University of Oxford


In this paper I would like to reflect on the confrontational and contradictory forces that make us ‘ethnographers’ and ‘anthropologists’, and of the consequences that accompany the way we position ourselves against our discipline and against ourselves as practitioners of that discipline. The paper may thus be read as an elucidation of boundary-formations: of how we classify and fence the kind of knowledge that we believe to be studying/making, and how we concomitantly circumscribe and define ourselves as agents in doing such classification. In effect, this amounts to examining the ways in which we relate to the bodies of knowledge that make up our identities as ‘anthropologists’, looking at how we sort out the information that makes up such bodies of knowledge and that entitles us to ‘know’ anything at all.

Author Biography

Alberto Corsín Jiménez, University of Oxford
Alberto Corsín Jiménez was born in 1973 in Spain. He studied at the London School of Economics (MSc) and Oxford (DPhil). He is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St Hugh's College and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford. He is Currently writing a book on the history of nitrate mining in the Atacama Desert, Chile.