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Accepted Paper:

Dilemmas of radical participation in contexts of spirituality. When total immersion obscures reflexivity, but sheds light from experience  


Luis Muñoz Villalón (Universidad de Sevilla)

Paper short abstract:

As a result of an ethnography with Ignatian Catholics, I radicalize some of the methodological proposals framed within the ontological turn. I test the limitations and possibilities of the production of anthropological knowledge under modalities such as radical participation and being affected.

Paper long abstract:

Recently, in the context of a meeting of the research project to which I belong, I presented my position of radical participation in a context of Ignatian spirituality. In this proposal of ontography, following Holbraad and Pedersen (2017), I try to deepen and radicalize those anthropological demands, emerging a series of questions that my own colleagues highlighted: What does it mean and how do we conceive a radical participation, while maintaining reflexivity? How do we deal with our ontological assumptions in that methodological work of abandonment and letting ourselves being affected? To what extent does our arrival baggage limit the conceptualization and symmetrical production of knowledge? How do we achieve that radical experimentation through our own body/mind/spirit without suspending our academic belief system?

These are the questions I try to answer in my ethnography. For now I am betting on total immersion, trying to incorporate the practices-concepts on which the experience of God's presence is built, around the so-called Itineraries of God's Experience. And it happens that, in the moments when I stop to reflect on the path I have walked, I feel that I lose that potential that radical participation brings to me, at the risk of being trapped in it.

Panel Know12
Symmetrical and experimental ethnographies: the dialectics of the observer and the observed.