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Semantics of Time and Historical Experience

Remarks on Koselleck's Historik

Luca Scuccimarra

Moving from Koselleck's most recent essays on Historik, the author explores the role played by historiography in the constitution of historicity as a peculiar experiential dimension of human existence. The essay focuses on the complex link between difference and repetition which, according to Koselleck's theory of experience, constitutes a “specific historical temporality” and its inner articulation. Actually, it is by exploring the “formal temporal structures” which constitute the horizon of historical intelligibility that Koselleck brings to light the decisive role that the point of view of historiography has for the constitution of man as the subject of historical knowledge and action. It is difficult to ignore the importance of this theory of historical temporalization in an age in which the End of History rhetoric tends to transform itself in a sort of media gospel.

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Introduction

Experiencing Anticipation. Anthropological Perspectives

Christopher Stephan and Devin Flaherty

Despite contemporary anthropology’s growing interest in ‘futures’, there has been an absence of sustained dialogue concerning the vital role of anticipation in everyday life. Seeking to bring much needed attention to the first-person perspective on futurity, in this introduction to the special issue we situate anticipation within the temporality of lived experience. Drawing on premises from anthropological studies of experience (particularly phenomenological approaches), we frame the experiential approach to anticipation by highlighting the parameters of its cross-cultural and intercontextual variability. We argue that anticipatory experience provides a crucial locus for ethnographic inquiry into the disparate and polysemous manifestations of futures in everyday life. We then seek to demonstrate how anticipation thus conceived may be productively integrated with numerous ongoing themes within contemporary anthropological scholarship. Finally, we introduce the individual contributions to the issue.

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Cosmologies and Lifestyles

A Cultural Ecological Framework and Its Implications for Education Systems

Phil Bayliss and Patrick Dillon

This essay critiques the majoritarian, post-Enlightenment, scientific worldview, the assumptions it makes about human cosmologies and lifestyles and how, in turn, these assumptions influence the nature of education systems. The critique focuses on how the experiences of minority cultures, particularly those cultures that are nomadic or pastoralist, challenge some of the fundamental premises of majoritarian education. There follows a cultural ecological framing which compares the ways in which Western (majoritarian) cultures and minoritarian cultures contextualise education. In Western educational situations, structures, contexts and schemata are substantially pre-defined, and we talk about things as 'context-dependent', since context is something that can be described as the backdrop to behaviour. In minoritarian cultures both meaning and context emerge from people's interactions with their environments and may subsequently be described. These are respectively relational and co-constitutional manifestations of situations. We present a cultural ecological framework in an attempt simultaneously to embrace both interpretations.

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A Generative Theory of Anticipation

Mood, Intuition and Imagination in Architectural Practice

Christopher Stephan

In this article, I argue that anticipation unfolds within a range of experiential modalities. Because moods and emotions, intuitions and imagination, among other forms of experience, can all appear as disclosing something about the future, anticipation is heterogeneous. Building on work in phenomenological anthropology and philosophy, I offer a generative phenomenology of the range of anticipatory experience, arguing that some forms of experience are relatively more implicit while others may prove more salient and offer more explicable forms of anticipation. As anticipation emerges in time, the more implicit experiential modes such as mood and intuition operate as antecedents to more explicit ones such as imagination. Turning to apply these ideas to ethnographic materials from my fieldwork among architectural design teams in San Francisco, I demonstrate how attentiveness to this gradient of anticipatory experience allows us to account for anticipatory experiences as they unfold through time.

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Paisley Livingston

These brief comments raise some questions about Murray Smith’s remarks, in his new volume Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film, on the nature of aesthetic experience. My questions concern how we might best draw a viable distinction between aesthetic and non-aesthetic experiences and focus in particular on possible links between self-awareness and aesthetic experiences. In sum, I agree with Smith in holding that we should not give up on the notion of aesthetic experience, even though aestheticians continue to disagree regarding even the most basic questions pertaining to its nature.

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The Embodiment of Learning and Teaching

The Enigma of Non-arrival

Nigel Rapport and Noa Vaisman

How people arrive at their convictions, and how they come to change them, remain immensely difficult questions. This article approaches convictions as manifestations of individuals' embodiment, and as allegories of their lives. As well as a rehearsing of moments of his own embodied learning, the main author engages in an email exchange with the second author, pondering how he might answer her questions about an anthropological methodology which more nearly approaches others' embodied experiences: the convictions represented by informants' words and behaviours. The article ends inconclusively. An individual's knowledge of body and self is part of that body and self, situated amid world-views and life-projects. Alongside the radical otherness of anthropologists' informants is the relative otherness of anthropologists to themselves. Our disciplinary conclusions concerning convictions, own and other, must remain provisional and open.

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Jelena Tošić and Annika Lems

Th is contribution introduces the collection of texts in this special section of Migration and Society exploring contemporary patterns of im/mobility between Africa and Europe. It proposes an ontological-epistemological framework for investigating present-day movements via three core dimensions: (1) a focus on im/mobility explores the intertwinement of mobility and stasis in the context of biographical and migratory pathways and thus goes beyond a binary approach to migration; (2) an existential and dialogical-ethnographic approach zooms in on individual experiences of im/mobility and shows that the personal-experiential is not apolitical, but represents a realm of everyday struggles and quests for a good life; and (3) a genealogical-historical dimension explores present-day migratory quests through their embeddedness within legacies of (post)colonial power relations and interconnections and thus counteracts the hegemonic image of immigration from Africa as having no history and legitimacy.

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Leonidas Sotiropoulos

Through an examination of Henry Miller’s account of his journey to Greece in 1939, as expressed in his travel book The Colossus of Maroussi, this article examines the image of this country his writing presents. Miller’s description of people, places, and environment is infused with a mystical, spiritual element, as if something magical emanates from the cultural environment of this country and tints the landscape and its inhabitants, adding an atemporal dreamlike qual- ity. The group of literati Miller befriended during his five-month stay in Greece viewed Greek art, culture, and history in an archetypal way, which blends well with Miller’s approach. This analysis of the enchanted world Miller claims to have met and experienced during his journey could thus possibly acquire further significance through tentatively relating it to the way contemporary Greeks may experience aspects of their culture and their Greekness.

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Dan Merkur

Drawing on phenomenology and his clinical practice, the author explores religious experience and the dynamics of the numinous. The article opens with the argument that psychoanalysts, like religious healers, should be able to work with religious phenomena as part of psychoanalytic therapy. The origin of the term 'numinous' is explained, and two types of human religious experience, mysterium tremendum and fascinans, are detailed. The role of anxiety in converting a metaphorical illusion (fascinans) into a private symbol (mysterium tremendum) is described. The terms by which religion can be viewed alternatively as delusion, illusion, and tenable speculation are discussed. A patient's religious concerns with the sacred and the profane are presented as symptoms of the repression of numinous experiences. Therapy can be promoted through a psychoanalytic dialogue on the patient's religiosity and its partial replication of early object relations.

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Naturalizing Aesthetic Experience

The Role of (Liberated) Embodied Simulation

Vittorio Gallese

The naturalization of the aesthetic experience of film and art can benefit from the contribution of neuroscience because we can investigate empirically the concepts we use when referring to it and what they are made of at the level of description of the brain-body. The neuroscientific subpersonal level of description is necessary but not sufficient, unless it is coupled with a full appreciation of the tight relationship that the brain entertains with the body and the world. In this article, I will discuss aspects of Murray Smith’s proposal on the aesthetic experience of art and film as presented in his Film, Art, and the Third Culture against the background of a new model of perception and imagination: embodied simulation.