Introduction: Ethnographies of Power and the Powerful

Matthew Archer*, Daniel Souleles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This introduction suggests that anthropology often assumes that the people anthropologists work with are relatively powerless. Due to this default, anthropologists tend to design their research and theorizing to reflect a relatively powerless other. We suggest that the accumulated scholarship on studying up, that is, studying those who structure the lives of many others, offers more accurate ways to theorize power and its exercise as partial and situated, as well as more plural and productive ways to imagine anthropological practice and ethics. We also suggest that this line of thinking gives us some ground to speak to the larger direction of the discipline.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Anthropology
  • Ethics
  • Power
  • Studying up

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