Author:René Devisch (University of Leuven)
Paper short abstract:
Phenomenological-anthropological and Lacanian-psychoanalytic hermeneutics may offer complementary insight in the intercultural intersubjectivity, memory and the unfathomable, triggered in fieldwork. The paper is (self)reflexive and theoretical.
Paper long abstract:
Hypothetically, my own intergenerational and intercultural self-reflection as I describe it here has developed along fours tracks. There is first (i) the traumatic family memory of the impact in my home region of World Wars I & II that I came to embody and carry on, in particular through the intergenerational recycling of my name René ("the reborn"). I venture to argue that the memory carried by my name led me to become (ii) a psychoanalyst and (iii-iv) an anthropologist along a double track. The positions of psychoanalyst and anthropologist provide different self-reflexive hermeneutical perspectives on the intercorporeal and intersubjective dynamics by which I am being interwoven with my host community in RD Congo, a former Belgian colony. My sustained effort to fine-tune myself to that community by means of asymmetrical mirrorings and otherings relates in particular to the following two self-critical modalities: (iii) my co-implication in contexts implying both incommensurable life worlds and a transsubjective gnosis that exceeds western-borne ratio; and (iv) my looking from 'there' to 'here as if it were there,' a stance which equally comprised both my self-conscious unravelling of the repressed in the civilizational clash as well as my assessment of the failure in the intercultural social sciences with regard to thinking the invisible in both its epiphanous and uncanny dimensions.
Reflecting on reflexivity in anthropology and social science