Ethnography and intersubjectivity: Loose ends

Johannes Fabian


Here I want to offer a few thoughts for discussion by returning to key notions— intersubjectivity, coevalness, and communication—I worked with and helped to propagate. Some of them will be second thoughts that inevitably come up upon further reflection, others are prompted by worries I have expressed ever since I took a position in critical debates almost forty years ago. They concern the relationship between epistemology and ethics generally, and problems with deriving from epistemological insights methodological prescriptions or ethical rules for field research specifically. It is perhaps also time to ask another general question: Is it possible or desirable to promote a renewed “critical anthropology” as a distinctive school of thought? And if critical once meant antipositivist where is the adversary today?


Ethnography, communication, intersubjectivity, epistemology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.1.008