Minima Ethnographica: Intersubjectivity and the Anthropological Project

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University of Chicago Press, 1998 - Social Science - 242 pages
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The postmodern opposition between theory and lived reality has led in part to an anthropological turn to "dialogic" or "reflexive" approaches. Michael Jackson claims these approaches are hardly radical as they still drift into such abstractions as "society" or "culture." His Minima Ethnographica proposes an existential anthropology that recognizes even abstract relationships as modalities of interpersonal life.

Written in the style of Theodor Adorno's Minima Moralia, Jackson's work shows how general ideas are always anchored in particular social events and critical concerns. Emphasizing the intersubjective encounter over objective descriptions of the whole historical and contemporary situation of a given people, he illustrates the power and originality of existential anthropology through a series of vignettes from his fieldwork in Sierra Leone and Australia. An award-winning poet, novelist, and anthropologist, Jackson offers a timely critique of conventions that dull our sense of the links between academic study and lived experience.

 

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Contents

PREAMBLE
2
The Intersubjective Turn
6
Seven Types of Intersubjective Ambiguity
9
Vita Activa
17
BalanceControl
18
Life Stories
24
The Itinerary of an Idea
25
Playing with Reality
29
The Other Island
99
First Contact
109
ASSAYS
126
Losing the Straight Way
132
MythsHistoriesLives
138
Clearing the Ground
147
The Bag of Clothes
155
Ghosts
161

Writing Intersubjectivity
33
RETURNS
38
Distance Lends Enchantment
46
Penis Snatchers
50
Auctoritas
55
Chiasmus
62
Sacrifice
69
Fetish
76
Color Triad
83
DIGRESSIONS
89
An Etiology of Storms
168
Jarramali Bajaku
172
Storying
176
Fugue
184
HERENOW
190
An Island in the Stream
197
References
210
Index
228
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About the author (1998)

Michael Jackson is Distinguished Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School.

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