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Senses in the culture: the sensory perception and the ethnographic text


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Bagarić, Petar. (2014). Senses in the culture: the sensory perception and the ethnographic text. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. [mentor Pletenac, Tomislav].

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This study researches the status of three categories – senses, body and experience – within fenomenology and the anthropology of the senses. These categories are key in both of these disciplines, they are the exact categories through which notions such as “world”, “subject”, “culture” and “others” are thought about and defined. The thesis of this study is that the importance and usage of these categories do not rely solely on the intradisciplinary rules, but that they are, also, tightly intertwined with the broader, discursive changes. The main change which affected the understanding and status of these categories is the switch from modernity to postmodernity. The author believes that in the transition of modernity (which is characterized by strict boundaries, distance and view as the metaphor of knowledge) into postmodernity (which is, on the other hand, characterized by fluidity, closeness and knowledge affected by the logic of touch) the privileged position of the knowing subject in relation to the world is lost. In the postmodern situation, the inherited constellations fall apart while new ways toward the conceptualization of reality are sought. The Cartesian dichotomies are discarded, while an explicit attempt at unifying of body and mind, world and subject, culture and nature is fostered. Phenomenologists such as Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger both developed theories which attempted to explain reality in a non-dualistic manner. Their theories served as a fertile ground for the development of the new ideas for a number of contemporary anthropologists (Csordas, Ingold, Jackson), and later, within the so-called anthropology of the senses, it led to the proposal of a distinct methodology envisaged by Sarah Pink. Attempts of immediate approach to the object of inquiry tend to radicalize participating half of “participation observant” methods. So “immersion” in specific context is introduced as a metaphor for this type of ethnographical work. The purpose of this paper is the careful analysis of the resulting ethnographies and their emplacement within a wider social and global context. Also by providing a clearer positioning of the new ethnographic turn in anthropological theory, achieved perspective should enable a clearer understanding of a current cultural change that is recognizable by its insistence on bodily experience. The perspective of poststructuralist critique will be used in the analysis of the selected articles. The articles will be as representatives of specific scientific genre. The methodological instructions of the anthropology of the senses rest upon the notion of ethnographer as an embodied subject who, through his or her senses, acquires the immediate insight. The author of this work proposes that the existential phenomenologies together with sensual anthropologies, participate in a discourse through which a new type of subject emerges: the toucher. This subject is determined by notions such are grooming, immediacy, empathy and corporeality. In this study, the author uses the method of discourse analysis in order to track the values acquired by categories such are senses, body or experience within various contexts. And, on the basis of such analysis, it suggests conclusions about the power relations which are realized through this new type of subject.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: antropologija osjetila, dodir, dodirivač, fenomenologija, osjetila, subjekt
Subjects: Ethnology and cultural anthropology
Departments: Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Supervisor: Pletenac, Tomislav
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2015 10:26
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2015 10:26

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