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Keywords:

  • [research methods;
  • knowledge production;
  • focus groups;
  • development;
  • Kenya]

ABSTRACT

In this article, I trace the history of focus groups as a method and consider how they produce and filter knowledge, interaction, and engagement; their nature as communicative settings; and their political–ideological associations. I analyze focus groups conducted for a primary health care project in Kenya that involved health officials, Washington, DC- and Nairobi-based staff, a U.S. photographer, a U.S. anthropologist, and local women from the project area. This case provides insights into knowledge production in the context of the transnational development industry, how anthropological methods are incorporated and represented in the process, and the epistemological grounds of ethnographic methods.