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By Ruth Behar

Eloquently interweaving ethnography and memoir, award-winning anthropologist Ruth Behar deals a brand new thought and perform for humanistic anthropology. She proposes an anthropology that's lived and written in a private voice. She does so within the desire that it'll lead us towards better intensity of realizing and feeling, not just in modern anthropology, yet in all acts of witnessing.

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Extra resources for The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart

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Paintings and pictures of vessels that are – or used to be – family owned and operated are rather common in the homes of (retired) fishermen. More importantly, in the villagers’ self-image, Oosterend is definitely a fishing community. As mentioned above, in matters of creed Oosterend and Oudeschild differ markedly. The image of the former is that of a pious Protestant community, whereas Oudeschild’s is that of a predominantly nonreligious village. ’ However, in recent decades there have been striking changes in the political and religious ideologies of the two fishing villages.

It was a time of considerable turmoil in the Dutch fishing industry. It even led to the downfall of a minister who failed to harness the disobedient fishermen. The management regime had profound economic, social and cultural consequences for owner-operators and crewmembers alike. The chapter attempts to show how Texel fishermen tried to steer their course in an era that was replete with social dilemmas and why they were ambiguous about the regulatory regimes. To understand their active pursuit to achieve a position as ‘catch king’, it also addresses the socio-cultural issues of rivalry, hierarchy and respect.

They still take pride in their métier. Even though the occupational community has become rather small over the past decade or so, fishing continues to occupy an important economic and symbolic position at the local level. Scores of inhabitants are fishermen or have been on a crew for a number of years, and most Oosterenders and Oudeschilders have relatives, neighbours, friends or former schoolmates who are working in the island’s fishing industry. Emphasizing their fishermen identities, Oudeschild has a fishermen’s choir that regularly performs on the island and Oosterend features an annual fish-smoking contest.

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