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This volume explores what phenomenology adds to the enterprise of anthropology, drawing on and contributing to a burgeoning field of social science research inspired by the phenomenological tradition in philosophy. Essays by leading scholars ground their discussions of theory and method in richly detailed ethnographic case studies. The contributors broaden the application of phenomenology in anthropology beyond the areas in which it has been most influential—studies of sensory perception, emotion, bodiliness, and intersubjectivity—into new areas of inquiry such as martial arts, sports, dance, music, and political discourse.
"The real beauty of this book is that the thinking does not stop... deep in the thickets of philosophic references. Instead, true to the spirit of phenomoenology, we are provided with provocative accounts of how such thinking flows in contemporary anthropological practice." —XCP - Cross Cultural Poetics In this timely collection, thirteen contemporary ethnographers demonstrate the importance of phenomenological and existential ideas for anthropology. In emphasizing the link between the empirical and the experiential, these ethnographers also explore the relationship between phenomenology and other theories of the lifeworld, such as existentialism, radical empiricism, and critical theory.
In the past fifteen years, there has been a virtual explosion of anthropological literature arguing that morality should be considered central to human practice. Out of this explosion new and invigorating conversations have emerged between anthropologists and philosophers. Moral Engines: Exploring the Ethical Drives in Human Life includes essays from some of the foremost voices in the anthropology of morality, offering unique interdisciplinary conversations between anthropologists and philosophers about the moral engines of ethical life, addressing the question: What propels humans to act in light of ethical ideals?
Pragmatic Perspectives in Phenomenology offers a complex analysis of the pragmatic theses that are present in the works of leading phenomenological authors, including not only Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, as it is often the case within Hubert Dreyfus' tradition, but also Husserl, Levinas, Scheler, and Patocka. Starting from a critical reassessment of existing pragmatic readings which draw especially on Heidegger's account of Being-in-the-world, the volume's chapters explore the following themes as possible justifications for speaking about the pragmatic turn in phenomenology: the primacy of the practical over theoretical understanding, criticism of the representationalist account of perception and consciousness, and the analysis of language and truth within the context of social and cultural practices. Having thus analyzed the pragmatic readings of key phenomenological concepts, the book situates these readings in a larger historical and thematic context and introduces themes that until now have been overlooked in debates, including freedom, alterity, transcendence, normativity, distance, and self-knowledge. This volume seeks to refresh the debate about the phenomenological legacy and its relevance for contemporary thought by enlarging the thematic scope of pragmatic motives in phenomenology in new and revealing ways. It will be of interest to advanced students and scholars of phenomenology who are interested in moving beyond the analytic-continental divide to explore the relationship between practice and theory.
Alterity or otherness is a central notion in cultural anthropology and philosophy, as well as in other disciplines. While anthropology, with its aim of understanding cultural difference, tends to take otherness as a fact, there have been vigorous attempts in contemporary philosophy, particularly in phenomenology, to answer the fundamental question: What is the Other? This book brings the two approaches to otherness – the hermeneutical pragmatics of anthropology, and the radical reflection of philosophy – together, with the goal of enriching one through the other. The philosophy of the German phenomenologist Bernhard Waldenfels, up to now little known to anthropologists, has a central position in this undertaking. Waldenfels’s concept of a responsivity to the Other offers to cultural anthropology the possibility of a philosophical engagement with the Other that does not contradict the project of making sense of concrete empirical others. The book illustrates the fertility of this new approach to alterity through a broad spectrum of themes, ranging from reflections on theory formation, via discussions of race and human-animal relations, to personal meditations on experiences of alterity.
Epistemology poses particular problems for anthropologists whose task it is to understand manifold ways of being human. Through their work, anthropologists often encounter people whose ideas concerning the nature and foundations of knowledge are at odds with their own. Going right to the heart of anthropological theory and method, this volume discusses issues that have vexed practicing anthropologists for a long time. The authors are by no means in agreement with one another as to where the answers might lie. Some are primarily concerned with the clarity and theoretical utility of analytical categories across disciplines; others are more inclined to push ethnographic analysis to its limits in an effort to demonstrate what kind of sense it can make. All are aware of the much-wanted differences that good ethnography can make in explaining the human sciences and philosophy. The contributors show a continued commitment to ethnography as a profoundly radical intellectual endeavor that goes to the very roots of inquiry into what it is to be human, and, to anthropology as a comparative project that should be central to any attempt to understand who we are.
To most outsiders, the hills of the Scottish Borders are a bleak and foreboding space - usually made to represent the stigmatized Other, Ad Finis, by the centers of power in Edinburgh, London, and Brussels. At a time when globalization seems to threaten our sense of place, people of the Scottish borderlands provide a vivid case study of how the being-in-place is central to the sense of self and identity. Since the end of the thirteenth century, people living in the Scottish Border hills have engaged in armed raiding on the frontier with England, developed capitalist sheep farming in the newly united kingdom of Great Britain, and are struggling to maintain their family farms in one of the marginal agricultural rural regions of the European Community. Throughout their history, sheep farmers living in these hills have established an abiding sense of place in which family and farm have become refractions of each other. Adopting a phenomenological perspective, this book concentrates on the contemporary farming practices - shepherding, selling lambs and rams at auctions - as well as family and class relations through which hill sheep fuse people, place, and way of life to create this sense of being-at-home in the hills.

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