The Ontological Implications of Spirit Encounters

in Social Analysis
Author:
Jamie Barnes Teaching Fellow, University of Sussex, UK jamie.barnes@sussex.ac.uk

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Abstract

This article offers a reflexive and phenomenological response to some of the challenges of the recent ontological turn. It argues, first, that a focus on embodiment is crucial in understanding the formation of ontological assumptions, and, second, that researchers have an ethical responsibility to practice an ‘ontological reflexivity’ that goes beyond the conceptual reflexivity of much recent ontological work. It conceives the anthropological domain as a place of ‘intra-actment’ and maintains that to avoid ontological closure, researchers must contextualize their ontological assumptions by reflexively sensitizing themselves to how these assumptions are shaped by both embodied experience and the contexts in which they are articulated and performed. This article seeks to enact this through an auto-ethnographic exploration of the author's own embodied experience as it relates to demonic manifestations and the divine.

Contributor Notes

Jamie Barnes is a Teaching Fellow in Sociology in the School of Law, Politics and Sociology at the University of Sussex. His forthcoming book, Stories, Senses and the Charismatic Relation: A Reflexive Ethnography of Christian Experience, to be published by Routledge, offers an intimate and auto-ethnographic exploration of Christian experience based on the author's own experience as part of an intentional Christian community. His current research interests focus on the interplay of faith and ecology, with a critical eye toward the worlds constituted by varied devotional commitments. E-mail: jamie.barnes@sussex.ac.uk

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Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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