chapter  10
Idiosyncrasy and the Problem of Shared Understandings: The Case of a Pakistani Orphan
ByKatherine P. Ewing
Pages 34

From the vantage point of the present, Hallowell’s writings form a remarkable and valuable bridge between the questions asked by the early students of culture and personality and current interest in the subjective experience of individuals as actors who are actively engaged with the anthropological researcher. Although Hallowell shared the early culture and personality studies’ experience-distant concerns with how specific features of a culture correlate with aspects of adult personality organization, the primary thrust of his research was to develop concepts that would enable him to capture, and accurately convey in immediate terms, the interpretive world of the culturally “other.” The title of one of Hallowell’s major works, Culture and Experience (1955), stresses his concern with understanding and communicating the lived world of his informants. My own earliest efforts at articulating Pakistani Muslim concepts of self were directly guided by his papers on the cultural shaping of the Ojibwa self (Hallowell, 1954a, b) an approach that, although unacknowledged by Geertz in his often-quoted formulation of the 216problem of the culturally shaped self (Geertz, 1973a, 1983), anticipated it by nearly two decades.