Accepted Paper:

A phenomenology and praxeology of Dogon landscape: sensory kinetic experiences as modes of writing and constructing anthropological knowledge  

Author:

Laurence Douny (University College, London)

Paper short abstract:

I propose to examine the production of anthropological knowledge by use of a combined phenomenological and praxeological approach through sensory kinetic experience and daily shared embodied practice.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I propose to examine the production of anthropological knowledge by use of a combined phenomenological and praxeological approach (Warnier 1999, 2001) that consider the sensory kinetic experience as a way of knowing the world through the body. I shall use these methods in the context of the 'making' and 'doing' of the Dogon domestic landscape of the Bandiagara Cliffs. I describe my experience of the place through shared, pragmatic, collective and routine embodied activities undertaken by Dogon women. These mostly concern the collection of resources such as water and foodstuff in the bush, cultivating and gardening. The landscape is here considered as the locus of shared participatory and embodied practices (Tilley 1994) that constitute the fabric of Dogon everyday cosmologies. Praxeology and phenomenology are not only used as an analytical framework but also as a method of 'doing' fieldwork that is by following people in their daily life, learning and discovering 'childlike' a brand new environment through the senses. This, I subsequently recount in an embedded dialogic and phenomenological form of writing (Jackson 1989, 1996, 1998) that is empirical, descriptive and reflexive. It is based upon my fieldnotes, my journal and some visual material that enable to recollect embodied memories such as smell, taste and emotions about the place and people and which all, in my view constitute crucial material in the writing of ethnographies.

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