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Cameron Bassiri

The present article provides an account of the chapter of volume one of the Critique of Dialectical Reason entitled “The Organization.” It is guided by the following questions: In what ways is the organization an advancement over the group in fusion and the statutory group? How does the organization contribute to the progressive dimension of Sartre’s progressive-regressive method? What is the status of the future within organized groups? It develops Sartre’s theory of power, rights, and duties, and shows that these concepts exist independently of the Polis. This makes possible a contrast with Plato and allows us to develop the implicit Sartrean concepts of moderation and justice in this chapter. I further show the internal structures and functioning of the organized group, Sartre’s concept of personal identity in such action, and the manner in which the future becomes concrete in such articulated action orientated toward an ultimate, collective aim.

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Talk and Practice

Ethics and an Individual in Contemporary South India

Soumhya Venkatesan

This article explores the intricate relationship between talk and practice in the anthropology of ethics by focusing on one individual, a temple and consecration priest, in Tamil Nadu, South India. By examining his relations with other people, gods and his ideal and present self, the article suggests that ethical self-cultivation is an ongoing practice and is based on ordinary and extraordinary encounters, evaluations and reflections thereon. It argues that the focus on an individual both allows an intimate and detailed reflection on processes of ethical self-cultivation and offers a window into the wider social world of which the individual forms a part.

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Irit Burkeman

In true JCM tradition, my reflections are totally personal and consist of anecdotes to, maybe, give you a flavour of my JCM. I came to London in 1973 and joined the Israeli Student Association. One of our activities was dialogue with Palestinian students. I am not sure I would call it a dialogue today. The meetings were more like shouting matches, all trying to score points off each other. The importance of these meetings was that we sat in the same room, grappling towards intercultural/interfaith dialogue.

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Navigating Unpredictable Sites

Methodological Implications of Positioning during and after Fieldwork in Conflict Societies

Eva Gerharz

This article discusses the relationship between the researcher and a field affected by armed conflict. Based on ethnographic research in Sri Lanka during the ceasefire of 2002, it investigates how deep polarization that emerges in the course of a violent conflict determines the researcher’s scope for positioning vis-à-vis the different groups. The article argues that the unpredictibility of the research site necessitates careful navigation of the self and requires thorough reflection on the consequences of particular moves at the point of decision making. In order to maintain relationships with different sides, there is a need to deal carefully with sensitive issues, both during and after fieldwork. This article pleas for a balance between pragmatism and ethics.

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Yiwei Zheng

‘Pure reflection’ is an important concept that bridges Sartre’s ontology and ethics in his early philosophy. In Being and Nothingness, Sartre devoted a section (Part Two, Chapter Two, Section III) to a discussion of the ontological characteristics of pure reflection. In Notebooks for an Ethics,3 he explored the ethical implications of the ontological characteristics of pure reflection (that he had presented in Being and Nothingness) and he used pure reflection as an essential stage leading to an ethical life of ‘authenticity’.

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Reflections on Fieldwork in Yemen

The Genealogy of a Diary in Response to Rabinow's Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco

Daniel Martin Varisco

In preparation for writing an ethnographic monograph on fieldwork in Yemen, I compare and contrast my field diary, written in 1978–9, with Paul Rabinow’s Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco (1977). The underlying question is what post-fieldwork reflections reflect meaningfully about the immediacy of ethnographic fieldwork? I criticise the reflexivist trope of privileging ‘writing culture’ over the significance of ‘being there’ in the field. Point by point, I examine the implications of graduate training in anthropology, culture shock, health problems, language skills, the unreflective male voice, visual ethnography and the rhetoric of narrative writing.

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Lior Levy

The article advances an interpretation of the self as an imaginary object. Focusing on the relationship between selfhood and memory in Sartre's The Transcendence of the Ego, I argue that Sartre offers useful resources for thinking about the self in terms of narratives. Against interpretations that hold that the ego misrepresents consciousness or distorts it, I argue that the constitution of the ego marks a radical transformation of the conscious field. To prove this point, I turn to the role of reflection and memory in the creation of the self. Reflection and memory weave past, present and future into a consistent and meaningful life story. This story is no other than the self. I propose to understand the self as a fictional or imaginary entity, albeit one that has real presence in human life.

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Susan Wright and Penny Welch

Welcome to the tenth anniversary issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences (LATISS). This anniversary presents an opportunity for celebration and for reflection on the progress made by the journal. Our aim for the journal, as set out on the website, has remained unchanged:

Learning and Teaching (LATISS) is a peer-reviewed journal that uses the social sciences to reflect critically on learning and teaching in the changing context of higher education. The journal invites students and staff to explore their education practices in the light of changes in their institutions, national higher education policies, the strategies of international agencies and developments associated with the so-called international knowledge economy.