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Accepted Paper:

Emotions and their (collective) unravelling as epistemological tools  
Lydia Maria Arantes (University of Graz)

Paper short abstract:

I introduce the ethno-psychoanalytical (interpretation group) approach and its epistemological benefits by exemplifying it via my research on knitting and illustrate the path from (the description of) emotional experiences to dense argumentations via ethno-psychoanalytical group interpretation work.

Paper long abstract:

Turning a (temporarily) blind eye to the terminological debate regarding the study of affects, emotions, feelings etc. (see also Skoggard/Waterston 2015), I take this panel as an opportunity to introduce a epistemological-methodological tool that we have implemented at our Department of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology in Graz, Austria, in 2013. I am speaking of an ethno-psychoanalytical interpretation group headed by a professional group analyst.

This approach is theoretically based on the theorem of transference and countertransference, here transferred from the (psycho)therapeutical to a group setting. Working with the unconscious, this approach enables reflections of emotions and irritations which emerge during fieldwork and are subsequently articulated in the research diary. Freely associating research diary entries, the group helps uncover hidden (symbolical) meanings and thus render visible latent field and cultural logics. Ultimately, this methodological approach not only accounts for the long-demanded reflection of the researcher’s positionality and subjectivity (Becker et al 2013; see also the Writing Culture debate); it also helps refine and amplify epistemological means, as urged by Bourdieu (1999) in his warning of reflexivity turning into an end in itself.

In my talk I will introduce the ethno-psychoanalytical (interpretation group) approach and its epistemological benefits by exemplifying it via my own research on knitting. Reproducing diary entries as well as group interpretation minutes, I will illustrate the path from subjective descriptions of sensory and emotional experiences in research diary entries to serendipitous realisations via ethno-psychoanalytical interpretation work which ultimately lay the ground for strong arguments.

Panel Body03
Mediating affect in the world of uncertainties
  Session 1 Thursday 8 June, 2023, -