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On Embracing the Vague

Pina-Cabral, Joao (2020) On Embracing the Vague. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 10 (3). pp. 786-799. E-ISSN 2049-1115. (doi:10.1086/711693) (KAR id:82083)

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At the same time as, in Paris, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl experimented with the concept of “participation,” in Harvard, William James undertook a parallel trajectory by taking recourse to the notion of “the vague.” For him, vagueness described the fact that reality is richer than any and all conceptualizations. In light of the ethnographic material provided by contemporary developments in ethnography, this paper mobilizes James’ concept of the vague by reference to Lévy-Bruhl’s participation in order to develop instruments for capturing ethnographically the complexities of entanglement and emergence in human sociality. The paper concludes that indeterminacy and underdetermination are doors of entanglement as they both limit and make possible the constitution of entities in sociality.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1086/711693
Uncontrolled keywords: vague, participation, William James, Lévy-Bruhl, Schütz, emergence, entanglement, indeterminacy, underdetermination
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Joao de Pina Cabral
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2020 11:25 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2021 15:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Pina-Cabral, Joao:
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