Professor Emeritus

In all of my research since the late 1940s there has been a continuity of focus on encounters, change, mobility, and process. In my dissertation (1954) I studied Native Americans: why and how they changed, why some individuals changed more than others, who left the reservation for the city, and which aspects of culture were more persistent. In 1957 I began fieldwork in an Indonesian village among the Toba Batak of Sumatra, studying kinship, change, and urbanization in the city of Medan. My last visit to Sumatra was in 1997.

For me cultures were never static, enclosed, integrated entities but were always in process; we all enter society in the middle. Persons have active selves and select among alternative courses of action. With Victor Turner and other colleagues in the early 1980s we broke with previous anthropological paradigms in two edited volumes, The Anthropology of Experience and Text, Play and Story. Both books showed how the emerging postmodern perspective actually worked in ethnographic practice. At about the same time in the early 1980s I developed a deeper appreciation of the concept of performance and a continuing interest in narrativity and story telling. While leading a traveling study abroad program in 1983-1984, I realized that although I was an anthropologist, I encountered tourists, backpackers, and locals at every site visited. I began a systematic series of studies of tourist performances in Kenya, Ghana, Lincoln’s New Salem, Masada, Bali, and an Indonesian theme park in Jakarta. This work culminated in a 2005 book, Culture on Tour.

Although I am an emeritus and don't teach, I do meet with students and serve on dissertation committees.

Research Interests:

Cultural anthropology, tourism, interpretive anthropology, narratology, performance, processes of change, urbanization, ethnicity, Indonesia, American culture.

AAA 2005: Ed Bruner requires RealPlayer

Selected Publications:

See my CV for a complete list of publications.
2005 Through the Looking Glass: Reflections on an Anthropological Life. Special issue in honor of Edward M. Bruner, edited by Helaine Silverman. Anthropology and Humanism 30 (2): 201-207.
2005 Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Japanese translation in process.
1995 International Tourism: Identity and Change. (ed. with Marie-Françoise Lanfant and John Allcock.) London: Sage.
1986 The Anthropology of Experience. Urbana: University of Illinois. Pp. 391. (ed. with Victor W. Turner). Translated, Spanish edition, Madrid: Ediciones Jucar.
1986 Ethnography as Narrative. In: The Anthropology of Experience. Turner and Bruner, eds. Pp. 139-155. Reprinted in: Memory, Identity, Community: The Idea of Narrative in the Human Sciences. eds. Hinchman and Hinchman. State University of New York Press. 1996. Reprinted in: Narrative Theory: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies, ed. Mieke Bal. London: Routledge. 2004. Reprinted in: Fieldwork, ed. Chris Pole. London: Sage. 2004.
1984 Text, Play and Story: The Construction and Reconstruction of Self and Society. (ed.) 1983 Proceedings, American Ethnological Society. Washington D.C.: American Anthropological Association. Pp. 364. Reissued, 1988, Chicago: Waveland Press.
1979 Art, Ritual and Society in Indonesia. Southeast Asia Monograph 53. Athens: Ohio University Press. Pp. 189. (ed. with Judith 0. Becker).
1956 Cultural Transmission and Cultural Change. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 12 (2): 191-199. Reprinted in: Social Structure and Personality. Y. Cohen, ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961. Pp. 112-116. Reprinted in: Personality and Social Systems. Neil J. Smelser and William T. Smelser, eds. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1963. Pp. 481-487. Reprinted in: Readings in Anthropology. J. D. Jennings and E. Adamson Hoebel, eds. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966. Pp. 337-342. Reprinted in: The Emergent Native Americans: A Reader in Culture Contact. Deward E. Walker, Jr., ed. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972. Pp. 69-75.