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Title: An encounter with the Maltese-Indian community
Authors: Falzon, Mark-Anthony (1996)
Keywords: Ethnic groups -- Malta
Maltese Indians -- Ethnic identity
Issue Date: 1996
Citation: Falzon, M.-A. (1996). An encounter with the Maltese-Indian community (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: The present work started off with a search for a suitable 'Other', that is a community of people apart from his own likely to collaborate with the author's task. Having identified the Maltese-Indian community as a likely candidate, the Other had to be encountered on a face-to-face basis. Initially, this seemed very difficult. In the 'classical' ethnographies, he was conveniently located in a mountain village or a group of tents in the desert: the Other, therefore, was - or at least was thought to be - spatially contained and the anthropologist's task was to move into a particular area and participate in the community's daily life. New situations as well as new ways of doing anthropology have changed all this. Very often, the Other may be the next-door neighbour when she is acting out a minor role in life: the Other, therefore, is situationally contained and the anthropologist's task depends upon his discerning of significant situations. When the first would-be informer was approached at his shop, he did not seem very 'different' - things looked even worse when he told me that I had got it all wrong, that there were no Indians in Malta any more! It seemed, therefore, that there was no Other to study. During the subsequent months, I was to realise that I had to identify the situations where the Other was overtly acted out, as well as the equally-important ones where it was not. After that, there was no question of lack of subject. I had realised that, as Rabinow puts it: "Where a successful cultural form provides an ongoing framework for interpreting and generating experience, here the experience of the Other is most comprehensible. Boundaries are easily discernible, symbols are neatly situated, and sequence is explicitly controlled ... Yet it is in the less explicitly shaped and less overtly significant areas of day-to-day activity and common-sense reasoning that most cultural differences are embedded." (Rabinow 1977:58) Indeed, it is now realised how fruitful those apparently-barren first few encounters were. They enabled me to grasp the fluid nature of ethnicity and its diverse manifestations.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 1996
Dissertations - FacArtAS - 1993-2009

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