Anthropology poses an explicit challenge to standard notions of scientific knowledge. It claims to produce genuine insights into the workings of culture in general on the basis of individual social experience in the field. Social Experience and Anthropological Knowledge traces the process from the ethnographic experience to the analytical results, showing how fieldwork enables the ethnographer to arrive at an understanding, not only of `culture' and `society', but also of the processes by which cultures and societies are transformed. The contributors challenge the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity, redefine what we should mean by `empirical' and demonstrate the complexity of present-day epistemological problems through concrete examples. By demystifying subjectivity in the ethnographic process and re-emphasizing the vital position of fieldwork, they do much to renew confidence in the anthropological project of comprehending the world.

chapter |9 pages


ByKirsten Hastrup, Peter Hervik

chapter 1|11 pages

Incomers and fieldworkers

A comparative study of social experience
ByTamara Kohn

chapter 2|13 pages

Making sense of new experience

ByIngrid Rudie

chapter 3|15 pages

Vicarious and sensory knowledge of chronology and change

Ageing in rural France
ByJudith Okely

chapter 4|10 pages

Veiled experiences

Exploring female practices of seclusion
ByKarin Ask

chapter 5|17 pages

Shared reasoning in the field

Reflexivity beyond the author
ByPeter Hervik

chapter 6|15 pages

The mysteries of incarnation

Some problems to do with the analytic language of practice
ByAngel Diaz de Rada, Francisco Cruces

chapter 7|13 pages

On the relevance of common sense for anthropological knowledge

ByMarian Kempny, Wojciech J. Burszta

chapter 8|21 pages

Where the community reveals itself

Reflexivity and moral judgment in Karpathos, Greece
ByPavlos Kavouras

chapter 9|10 pages

Time, ritual and social experience

ByAndre Gingrich

chapter 10|15 pages

Space and the 'other'

Social experience and ethnography in the Kalahari debate
ByThomas Widlok

chapter 11|18 pages

Events and processes

Marriages in Libya, 1932–79
ByJohn Davis

chapter 12|13 pages

Anthropological knowledge incorporated

ByKirsten Hastrup