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This essay concerns the juxtaposition of literary techniques of showing and academic methods of knowing in ethnographic writing. To combine different modes of writing in the same text—descriptive and analytical, fictional and factual—broaches ethical and discursive questions of verisimilitude and truthfulness. How can we reconcile fidelity to the facts, fidelity to genre conventions and disciplinary boundaries, fidelity to the people whose lives we write about, and fidelity to received standards of logical rigor, scientific impartiality, or proper conduct?

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