W087
Phenomenological anthropology as research method: debating the pre-textual basis of ethnographic fieldwork

Convenors:
Helena Patzer (Czech Academy of Sciences)
Tomasz Rakowski (University of Warsaw)
Anne Line Dalsgård (Aarhus University)
Chair:
Helena Patzer/ Anne Line Dalsgaard/ Tomasz Rakowski
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
R3
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

In this workshop we would like to explore how to use phenomenology within anthropological research and, especially, within its practice. We hope to find a language to communicate our professional skills of participating in the pre-textual reality of ethnographic fieldwork.

Long abstract:

The last two decades have brought about multiple attempts to apply phenomenological concepts in the social sciences in order to create a new model of anthropological knowledge and capture these aspects of social life which still escape interpretation. In this workshop we would like to explore the potentialities of using this perspective within anthropological research and, especially, within its practice. Stepping beyond the usual procedures of fieldwork and pursuing a new ethnographic practical knowledge are precisely what we would like to focus on. As we assume, this kind of ethnographic knowledge is obtained exactly through multiple aspects of the body and bodily practices, the movement and existence of things, elements of social memory and various sorts of hidden narratives. They form, together with the pre-reflexive structure of cognition, a kind of a silent, pre-textual knowledge. Thus, the ability to participate in such pre-textual reality is our basic professional skill. During the workshop we hope to find a language to communicate this level of ethnography. The questions which we would like to address are as follows: How do we engage in and remember events from the field? How do we form our first understandings of the studied phenomenon? What is observation to us? How do we observe and how do we write it up in our field notes? How much attention do we pay to the 'ethnographic detail'? What is the meaning of objects in our work? All interested in these methodological questions are welcome to submit their abstracts.