Situated anthropology, sexuality and affects


Kostas Yannakopoulos




This article deals with the distance between the ethnographer and his/her « object » of study and his/her political implication/engagement in the studies on sexuality. More concretely I review the assumptions expressed by some Greek anthropologists and, in general, social scientists . According to them, the studies on homosexuality do not take distances because they are conducted by researchers who belong to the sexual minorities and are political engaged. I point out that this argument against non-distance and political engagement is a perception epistemologically, socially and politically situated and therefore as politically engaged as this of the so-called «political engaged» anthropologists.

According to the author, ethnographic research is an encounter among situated subjects which results to the scientific and personal transformation of the anthropologist. This encounter presupposes the involvement of the ethnographer in the situations which he/she studies. This involvement is not only intellectual but also sensual and affective. In addition, I show that anthropologist’s affective experience plays a crucial role in the production of the anthropological knowledge.


Κostas Yannakopoulos is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology and History at University of the Aegean and Director of the Postgraduate Program “Gender, Culture and Society”. His recent research concerns gender identities and male homoerotic relations in postwar Greece.