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Rethinking observational cinema

Grimshaw, Anna and Ravetz, Amanda (2009) Rethinking observational cinema. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 15 (3). pp. 538-556. ISSN 1467-9655

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Abstract

'Observational cinema' has long been central to debates in visual anthropology. Although initially hailed as a radical breakthrough in ethnographic filmmaking, the genre was subsequently criticized as naïvely empiricist and lacking in reflexive sophistication. In this article, we make a new case for observational cinema. It grows out of a renewed attention to practice. We argue that observational work be understood not as preliminary to anthropological proper but as a distinctive form of anthropology in its own right.

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