A mainstream narrative in the academy casts hidebound authority as the enemy of evidence and, in many cases, the truth. In this review, I argue for an ethnographic and linguistic approach to evidence and authority as communicative practices that are not inherently opposed but rather inseparably intertwined. For ethnographers, authority can usefully be viewed as authorizing acts (recognizing that the act includes the receiver), and evidence can be thus treated as a kind of authorization, an act of providing evidence. Viewed in this more dynamic framework, authority and evidence become observable practices in which actors deploy cultural forms—performances, experiments, verb tenses, quotes, narratives, pronouns—to persuade, argue, confirm, and mediate social and cultural relations.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error