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A long and winding road : cross-cultural connections between Brazil, Australia and Japan

By Cristina Rocha


In the past decade or so, several anthropologists have been reflecting on the implications of globalisation and transnational communities for the ethnographic method.14 From this perspective, traditional conceptions of the anthropological field as the territorially fixed, stable, localised and bounded community have become inadequate. For instance, George Marcus has called for ‘multi-sited ethnography’ as a way of ‘examining the circulation of cultural meanings, objects, and identities in diffuse time-space.’15 For him, ‘multi-sited research is designed around chains, paths, threads, conjunctions, juxtapositions of locations in which the ethnographer establishes some form of literal, physical presence, with an explicit, posited logic of association or connection among sites that in fact defines the argument of the ethnography’.16 Even within single sites, Marcus sees the awareness of a much larger world-system in the subjects’ consciousness and actions as crucial. In the same vein, James Clifford has observed that in such an increasingly interconnected world, ‘the ethnographer is no longer a (worldly) traveller visiting (local) natives,’17 rather both are travellers as well as dwellers. According to Clifford, if one is to understand ‘local/global historical encounters, […] dominations and resistances, one needs to focus on hybrid, cosmopolitan experiences as much as rooted, native ones’.18 To this end, my book addresses both experiences. Whereas I focus on the ‘local/global historical encounters’ and the cosmopolitan experiences of my interviewees (as many of them were in fact cosmopolitans who travelled, and were aware of developments of Zen in metropolitan centres), I also focused on how they engaged in their Zen practices in Brazil. Accordingly, I conceived the book as a multi-sited research in order to track the flows of Zen from Japan, Europe and the US into Brazil, and as they made their way back into these countries as well as to Latin America

Topics: Japanese, Brazil, Brazilians, Japan, Australia, Zen Buddhism
Publisher: Sydney, The Japan Foundation
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:nuws:uws_1439
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