Anthropologists, from the first, have paid attention to the thought and behavior of the people about whom they have written. Even in the positivist or structuralist preoccupation with "getting beneath" the surface, or the Marxist wariness of false consciousness, there is an obvious concern with what people are saying or showing us by their actions. Those of a more humanistic bent, of course, have argued that these approaches unduly privilege the anthropologist's explanation of supposedly "raw data." And the point is well and widely taken. Yet reconceiving what actors say and do as an "emic" (or "informant" or "local," or call it what we will) world, can still allow us to view that world as the subject, even the object, in other words, the text upon which we work. It is the grist for our mill, the inchoate, opaque material that we shape or illuminate (246).
Maynard, K. "Protestant Theories and Anthropological Knowledge: Convergent Models in the Ecuadorian Sierra." Cultural Anthropology 8.2(1993): 246–267.