Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

New release: From the Spirit's Point of View. Ethnography, Total Truth and Speakership. By Thomas G. Kirsch

23. July 2010

[Translate to English:] Cover

In: Karsten Kumoll, Olaf Zenker (eds.): Beyond Writing Culture. Current Intersections of Epistemologies and Practices of Representation, New York/Oxford: Berghahn, 89-112.

In the present article, I […] demonstrate, by way of an example from the anthropology of religion, that there is a peculiar inconsistency between the ethnographic claim to represent the ‘native point of view’ and certain tendencies in how self-identifications of interlocutors are dealt with by anthropologists. I [rehearse] the argument that this inconsistency has, for good or ill, a certain strategic value for those working in the field of anthropology because it allows them to come to terms with the conflicting objective in anthropology to seek propinquity-in-distance. It helps anthropologists in positioning themselves in the epistemological space between ‘ego’ and ‘alter’ and ‘realis’ and ‘irrealis’, an ambiguous space that is characteristic for much of cultural and social anthropology.

“This is a book that will attract a great deal of attention among anthropologists and social scientists in general. It is a great advance on earlier critiques of Writing Culture (1986) that have emerged at intervals, a large number of them cited by the contributors. Its strength lies particularly in its transdisciplinary perspectives and the clarity of both critique and new representations. The prologue is a tour de force.” · (Joan Vincent, Professor Emerita, Barnard College/Columbia University)

Prof. Thomas G. Kirsch  is full professor and chair of social and cultural anthropology  at the University of Konstanz.