Anthropology 'Through the Guiness Glass': The Multiple Reflection of Irish Ethnography

Joel Kerry Amnott, Jr.

          Ethnography is the means through which cultural anthropologists gather information about the world. In spite of its central place in the discipline, it is poorly defined and not well articulated. Additionally, the early flaws in the process of ethnography created by the colonial power structure it stems from remain largely unaddressed, particularly within the theoretical arena. These issues are expressed in a number of obvious ways within the context of the ethnography of Ireland, and it is within this context that I discuss them. I examine the Irish canon to demonstrate the types of problems with the ethnographic process and the way it has been utilized, and then contrast the process which created it with my own ethnographic field work. These issues concerning ethnographic process must be systematically examined, particularly with regard to the theoretical constructs they support, or else those constructs will remain inevitably flawed.