BABCOCK, BARBARA A.
Reflexivity: Definitions and discriminations
Reflexivity: Definitions and discriminations 1 BARBARA A. BABCOCK When we think ... we ourselves, as we are at that moment appear as a sign. Charles Sanders Peirce Self-regarding does not have a good press. It smacks of narcissism, solipsism, and subjectivism. Despite our concern with 'subjective meanings' and despite the centrality of reflexivity to the ethnographic enterprise, self-reference is something that, as anthropologists concerned with the objective, the social, and the shared, we are likely to denounce or at least not talk about. 'It is evident that no one wants any part of a philosophy which scandalizes the primitive fact of experience: that ours is a social world' (Natanson 1974b: 241). However, it is also evident that reflexivity is 'the inevitable accompaniment of any method which demands scrutiny of its own terms and procedures' (Natanson 1974b: 243). In this regard, an epistolary remark by Victor Turner concerning the 1976 symposium, Rituals and Myths of Self: Uses of and Occasions for Reflexivity, from which the present collection of essays emerged, is particularly interesting. He said, and I quote: 'Narcissus is a profoundly social myth'. Let me try to elucidate this paradoxical statement. In Mind, Self, and Society, G. H.
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