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This paper examines epistemological and ontological issues in ethnographic research and texts. Based on my experiences as a subject in an ethnographic study of pro wrestling, I present an ethnography of the ethnographer. In this paper, I discuss problems arising from a hierarchy of understanding that privileges the ethnographer, the primacy of visualism, and a desire to penetrate and uncover hidden truths. I propose that a performative approach to ethnography recognizes the agency of the ethnographic object and opens access to other sensorial phenomena.
The author is with the Laboratory for Leisure, Tourism, and Sport at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269.