“that some of our anthropological critiques (and the belief in anthropological exceptionalism on which they rest) display the very colonial proclivities of the primitivist media and pop ethnographers against which we argue” (Hoesterey 2012)
With the reduction in cost (both in terms of economic and human capital) of producing media, and now with individuals and groups able to distribute more media, documentary and journalistic media has been transformed in ways that aren’t fully “auto-ethnography” (as we discussed in class last week). It’s not just the Wai-wai producing media that reflects their own identity, but a bunch of Tom, Dick, and Mary’s (as well as Mark and Olly) who are making media that portrays different societies in ways that Hosesterey argues reinforces an “Orientalist gaze.”
Old ethnographic film (i.e., First Contact, a famous documentary on Australian gold miners in Papua New Guinea) has been strongly criticized for this “orientalist gaze” that fixes native groups in particular stereotypes. Reality TV, according to Hoesterey, doesn’t really help, in that what they portray isn’t really reality but a staged version of reality.