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Accepted Paper:

The certainty of unknown's ambiguity: approaching Tarot readings differently  
Marina Jaciuk (Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt)

Paper short abstract:

Life uncertainties lead many people to seek advice from "experts of the unknown": fortune tellers, tarot readers, or astrologers. The ambiguities of Tarot readings narratives are able to create certainty for the querent and methodological and epistemological uncertainties for the researcher.

Paper long abstract:

Have they been faithful to me or not? Should I change my job or stay where I am? Will my health improve? Uncertainties like these lead many people (whether they admit it or not) to seek answers, advice, and relief from "experts of the unknown": fortune tellers, tarot readers, coffee readers, or astrologers. How do fortune tellers handle this uncertainty, however? In my presentation, I want to share the experience of the autoethnographic work with a Spanish colleague, in which we analyzed the ambiguities in Tarot readings narratives that can create certainties for the querent. By "spreading" the cards, the tarot reader interacts with them, "channeling" a sphere of knowledge about the querent's past, present, and future. That sphere is, in most cases, imperceptible to the sensory and cognitive experience of the researcher. This confronts us then with methodological and epistemological uncertainties. How could the researcher do ethnographical work regarding the unknown? How does it influence our vulnerabilities, especially when presenting this approach within an academic environment? Which ethical and professional struggles does the researcher face in submitting results? I suggest a new approach with a different logic can help address these questions.

Panel Narr03
Open paths - coping with uncertainty through ambiguity in and of narratives [Narrative Cultures Working Group]
  Session 2 Friday 9 June, 2023, -