Phenomenological Ethnography in Sociology and Anthropology by Jack Katz and Thomas Csordas







Copyright © 2003 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi) www.sagepublications.com Vol 4(3): 275–288[1466–1381(200309)4:3;275–288;040124]
Phenomenological ethnography in sociology and anthropology
  • Jack Katz
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Thomas J. Csordas
    Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
    In this issue we present a variety of examples of recent and ongoing ethno- graphic research in which investigators are working self-consciously in dialogue with one or more traditions within the phenomenological movement in philosophy. Each article makes a contribution to a given substantive field. As a set they pose a range of issues: the variety and distinc- tiveness of phenomenologically influenced ethnography, the relationship between philosophy and empirical inquiry, the evolution of phenomeno- logical influences in social research, and issues about convergence and segre- gation in the disciplines of anthropology and sociology. We comment briefly on the last.
    One historically emergent difference is the contrasting moral postures that author and reader take toward the subjects of study. Anthropological writings characteristically have illuminated native groundings for subjects’ perspectives, enhancing respect for local cultures by uncovering reasons that outsiders had not appreciated. Sociological ethnography began in a similar posture, but for over 40 years now, and especially in phenomenologically influenced works, ethnographies produced out of academic sociology departments have frequently been critical or at least agnostic about claims made by their subjects, and the suspension of belief has ranged from the political to the ontological.
    The anthropological articles in this issue restore credibility to native
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perspectives that have already been undermined by professional knowledge and power. For Wilson and Csordas, Navajo understandings of bodily experience that seem confusing to our spatial orienting system become evidence of an alternative, non-Euclidean geometry. For Rabela and Souza, what Western medicine constructs as a symptom of disorder is reinterpreted as a mood, and one rooted in a pattern of social disadvantage that the Western diagnosis would mask. Similarly Geurts underwrites subjects’ logic by revealing that a peculiar body posture used when subjects relate given narratives is not accidental or arbitrary but is rooted in the multi-faceted historical experience of a people. By providing empirical grounding, the ethnographer firms up the subject’s moral foundations.
In contrast, phenomenologically influenced sociological ethnography often breaks our embrace of members’ perspectives, deconstructing what subjects treat as naturally significant and throwing readers into awkward, uncomfortable stances that risk undermining the equanimity of perspectives on subjects. Thus Paperman, in revealing the interaction strategies in which Paris subway police elicit and define evidence of malfeasance, comes close to a hot button issue of the day, namely, ethnic and racial ‘profiling’ of suspects, and yet offers nothing either to validate or debunk official constructions. In tracing the way arrests are produced, she does, however, note that in situ reasons for arrest are systematically transformed when presentations are made to reviewing judicial police authorities. We are left with a heightened appreciation of the acquired cunning of police investiga- tive procedures; there are no knee-jerk, simple workings of prejudice here. And yet we are given no basis for independently warranting the bases for police interventions.
In their study of an inner city high school, Garot and Katz show ‘at risk’ students working elaborately on their appearance. The article can easily be read as undermining social protest meanings for their dress, make-up and punctuations of skin: there is so much individualized concern here that theories of structural inequalities seem too gross, too reductionist to account for the variations that are so important to the young people themselves. And Kusenbach, while honoring the recalled pasts and strategically anticipated future conduct that shape a resident’s everyday experience of neighborhood, can only bring out these biographically rooted temporal horizons by sustaining a systematically awkward relationship to her subjects. She must somehow be with them, in an immediately provocative situation, and yet through that process get them to reveal the experience they have when going through their neighborhoods with their regular companions or when alone. This constant confrontation with ethnography’s Heisenberg dilemma is at once indispensable and almost dizzying in its personal demands.
This difference between restoring and shaking the foundations of subjects in their social worlds is only one of several that estrange the two kindred
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traditions in ethnography. As we work toward convergence, it is futile to ignore the obstacles we encounter. In order to highlight other disciplinary differences, we next introduce the three anthropology and the three soci- ology articles in their respective academic traditions.
Cultural phenomenology in anthropology
During the past century in the United States, phenomenology has been a vague presence lapping at the edges of anthropology. That is, it has been marginal, seldom explicitly inspiring ethnographic work, and rarely taken into account even as a methodological stance to be opposed. In the first half of the 20th century, A. Irving Hallowell (1955) referred to his studies of the self as phenomenological ‘for want of a better term’. In the second half of the century, Clifford Geertz (1973) undertook an exercise to apply the phenomenological sociology of Alfred Schutz to Balinese material on person, time and conduct, but phenomenology has never been a centerpiece of his oeuvre. Then, in the late 1980s and 1990s, an opening for phenom- enology appeared in the context of the much-discussed crisis of ethnogra- phy (Clifford and Marcus, 1986; Behar and Gordon, 1995). A portion of this work has taken the form of a cultural phenomenology grounded in embodiment (e.g. Csordas, 1994), under the influence of thinkers such as Merleau-Ponty, Foucault and Bourdieu who problematized the body in various ways. Another portion of the anthropological works appearing under the banner of phenomenology (e.g. Jackson, 1996) are tied together by a broad and eclectic consensus on what is to be understood by that term.
In fact, anthropologists who embrace phenomenological aims do not always explicitly apply phenomenological method (the reduction or epoche), engage the work of phenomenological thinkers (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty), or elaborate themes and concepts typically associated with phenomenology as a descriptive enterprise (intersubjectiv- ity, thematization, embodiment). For the most part, any anthropologist concerned in the least with the category of ‘experience’ is likely to claim to be doing, or be identified by others as doing, phenomenology; and the adjec- tives experiential and phenomenological are in effect synonymous. This paraphenomenological concern with theorizing experience as such runs from Hallowell, as mentioned above, to the works of Arthur Kleinman (1980, 1997) and Byron Good (1994), though the latter have acknowledged a degree of overt influence from phenomenological thinkers such as Helmut Plessner and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
The three anthropological articles presented here share a particular place in the incipient movement briefly outlined in the preceding paragraphs, insofar as they partake of an effort to develop a more explicit cultural
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phenomenology in anthropological ethnography (see also Csordas, 2002). This cultural phenomenology is characterized by recognizing the epoche in the moment of alterity, not only as otherness in the sense of encounter with other people(s), but as otherness in the sense of cultural difference that is alien, strange, uncanny. It is also characterized by an emphasis on embodi- ment as the common ground for recognition of the other’s humanity and the immediacy of intersubjectivity. Taking seriously the relevance of phenomenological concepts and the value of engaging the work of phenom- enological philosophers, the approach embraces the postulate that anthro- pology and philosophy often ask the same questions, though the former insists on engaging them in light of the empirical data of ethnography. The three articles also demonstrate the possibility of conducting cultural phenomenology at different levels of experiential specificity. Thus Wilson and Csordas focus on the interaction of healer, patient and ethnographer in a single event of ritual healing. Rabelo and Souza examine the experience of a series of women occupying comparable social positions and struggling with the same category of affliction. Finally, Geurts deals with a phenom- enon relevant to the collective memory and identity of an entire people.
The article by Wilson and Csordas is a phenomenological attempt to understand therapeutic efficacy in Navajo ritual healing, in which Wilson uses her own bodily as well as intellectual sensibilities as ethnographic instruments. The much discussed untranslatability of concepts underlying Navajo philosophy is circumvented by a reduction of ritual experience to the existential plane of bodily spatiality. Here Merleau-Ponty’s enigmatic notion of a double horizon (that of external space and that of bodily space, or to put it in an image, the anonymous space beyond perception ‘in front of the eyeballs’ and the anonymous space beyond reflective experience ‘behind the eyeballs’) is fleshed out by the application of metaphors from projective geometry. In this argument, the descriptive task of cultural phenomenology takes the form of a non-Euclidean geometry of bodily space that is at the same time a geometry of the senses and a geometry of spirits. The projective notion of codetermination allows what would otherwise be interpreted as an animistic conception of nature to be grasped as the tangible moment of contact between our existence in the flesh and what Merleau- Ponty would call the flesh of the world, outlining the texture of the human habitation of the world, the vibrancy of reality eliciting response from us just as we project form into reality. This notion also evokes (as too, to a lesser degree, do the notions of ever-changing ratio relationships and the temporalization of space) the fundamental phenomenological theme of intersubjectivity. Though never raised explicitly because theoretically subordinated to the problem of embodiment and spatiality, intersubjectiv- ity is a powerful covert theme of the article on multiple levels: those of human interaction with nature (the snakes’ request for recognition in the
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act of appearing), the healer’s interaction with her patient (the patient’s absence during which she was ‘carried’ by the prayers, which was at once a rupture in the time–space continuum and a discrepancy of perception between healer and patient), the ethnographer’s interaction with the healer (‘Why do I feel that you are not completely satisfied with that answer?’), the co-author’s interaction with the ethnographer, and the authors’ inter- action with the readers.
In a way that reiterates the refrain of the temporalization of space given voice by Wilson and Csordas, Rabelo and Souza place the phenomeno- logical theme of temporality at the center of their argument. Their discussion of working-class Brazilian women afflicted with nervoso leads us to an understanding of past, present, and future as ‘dimensions of a unique movement by which inherited possibilities that still retain vigor in existence are actualized in the direction of a coming-to-be’. In making this argument they do not hesitate to engage the phenomenological philosophers Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur, whose work grounds the experience of temporality squarely in the field of embodiment. Here temporality is the sedimentation of mood through a variety of bodily metaphors and experi- ences summarized in the notion of nervoso: estrangement, being out of tune, transformation from plump to bony, moral and physical weakening, the languishing of vitality, sinking under the weight of experience. Rabelo and Souza insist that these expressions are neither representational nor analytic, and certainly do not mirror reflections of some other, non-corporeal dimen- sion called the ‘meaning’ of experience. In their view, to abstract a general pattern from successive experiences flattens historicity, mistaking experience for the pathological situation in which there is a constriction of both the past in the form of erstwhile possibilities and the present in the form of an open horizon. Understanding nervoso as a structure of temporality allows for what is clearly a major contribution of this article: construing the affec- tivity of the afflicted as mood rather than as disorder. As contributory to an enduring mood, irritability, withdrawal, weakness and moral isolation constitute a mode of being absorbed in an existential situation rather than a series of symptoms subject to medicalization. With respect to a personal biography, saying ‘I’m not what I used to be’ can thus be understood as a way of holding on to what one used to be. With respect to tradition, embrace of the Yoruba deities (orixas) is not an escape strategy but an upwelling of existential force, a re-appropriation of the past linking women to family, community and tradition.
The sedimentation of mood in tradition as a bodily process of tempo- rality is elaborated in quite a different way, on a collective level, in Kathryn Geurts’s discussion of the curled-up posture enacted by narrators of the ethnic origin legend of the Anlo-Ewe people of Ghana. As the occasion for a particular kind of epoche, Geurts uses this posture to show the sense in
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which being Anlo is not simply a matter of membership in a group, nor a matter of ethnic identity, but an existential condition. Critical to the exis- tential analysis of this powerful yet indeterminate phenomenon is recog- nition of its multiple dimensions as sound, word, event, posture, state, concept, gesture and narrative element. In this sense it is an irreducible element of the Anlo habitus, an experiential hinge that both grounds a tradition and, by creating the invitation to a sequel and the necessity of a future, institutes a horizon. In thus describing the curled-up Anlo, Geurts captures an essence of the particular rather than the kind of universalizing essence to which there has recently been such appropriately strong theor- etical objection. Beginning with this central image, the existential analysis of the Anlo as a people ramifies to a broadening circle of contexts begin- ning with an ethos of melancholy, to a motivating dialectic between exhaustion and reinvigoration, to an engagement with their bleak terrain that leads to the necessity of turning outward toward education and travel, and to a sense of relations with non-Anlo that require balancing resent- ment and respect, persecution and power. This interpretation is possible in part because, as in the article by Rabelo and Souza, the central phenom- ena are not treated as symbols or representation but as the presentation of an existential condition, such that the story is understood as an affecting presence and the curled-up gesture as an enacted metaphor. Finally, Geurts acknowledges an element of grounding for the analysis in her own bodily affinity for the gesture based on personal experience with yoga, and the yogic recognition that forward bends can produce sorrow, nostalgia and grief. This insight offers an intriguing parallel with Anlo melancholy that, like the experience of Diana Wilson reported in the article on Navajo healing, highlights the ethnographer’s own corporeality as an instrument of research.
Phenomenology and ethnographic sociology
As has been noted before, sociological ethnography has increasingly strug- gled with a dilemma that emerged in the 1960s and has rapidly expanded ever since. In the early ‘Chicago school’ ethnographies, sociologists were giving voice to populations whose perspectives were ignored by institutions shaping their lives. With the expansion of various civil rights and minority rights movements, Western ethnographers working at home now are often not so much giving voice to voiceless subjects as they are conveying a less attractive story than that put out by their subjects’ local public relations agents (Becker, 1967; Kitsuse, 1980; Katz, 1997). Professional spokespeo- ple for the police, for ethnic minority and lifestyle groups, and for organ- ized residential communities are in the business of biasing public
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perceptions. As anthropology’s subjects have become increasingly politi- cized, the disciplinary difference has in this respect narrowed.
But for other reasons, it may well be that the use of phenomenology in sociological research always will be distinctively awkward, irritating and self-contradictory. In the first wave of phenomenologically inspired soci- ology, writings were manifestly, even proudly debunking (Berger and Luckmann, 1967). Garfinkel (1967) unnerved subjects with his experi- ments. Can one imagine anthropologists playing equivalent tricks on the people they study? (On the uneasy relationship between ethnography and ethnomethodology, see Pollner and Emerson, 2001.) Cicourel (1964) attacked the epistemological foundations of all conventional research methods in sociology. Sudnow (1965) was read as showing public defend- ers selling out their clients. And Douglas (1967) turned Durkheim, and the conventional reading of suicide statistics, upside down: treating suicide not as an independent, obvious fact of nature but as a social construction, he argued, inter alia, that anomie accounted not for the motivation for self- destruction but for a lack of associates who, being ashamed about suicide, might cover up its appearance by pressuring government agencies to use a more innocuous label (see also Atkinson, 1978).
In a second stage of evolution, conversation-analytic research, which was originally inspired by the line from running from Husserl to Schutz to Garfinkel, veered away from the phenomenological quest. Critiques of posi- tivism by Garfinkel, Cicourel and others made their readers anxious about the warrant for the sociological description of any social facts. A siren call motivating the change of course that defined this second stage seemed to emanate from a reassuring safe harbor: the promise of grounding the description of one actor’s conduct in the meaning given it by another’s response. This would make sociological description sociological, or socially warranted, not imposed by the researcher. Despite an often exquisitely phenomenological appreciation of phenomena as they are experienced beyond the reach of conventional language, conversation analysis has insisted on limiting data to speakers’ collaboratively established meanings.
But the cost of settling at this safe harbor is a radical departure from the phenomenological tradition: individual lines of action fall off the research agenda. As in philosophy in general, the core of the phenomenological tradition has been the analysis of individual experience, independent of real time, co-present interaction. For the phenomenologist, collaboratively warranted facts have no superior ontological status. There is certainly no bias in the phenomenological tradition in favor of the facts as established in face-to-face, ear-to-ear, or other real-time interaction, as opposed to the individual thinking, working or playing alone.
In effect, the sociological couriers bringing phenomenology into sociology became hoist by their own petard. The initial critiques of
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conventional sociological description as arbitrary imputations, ‘measure- ment by fiat’, and impositions not warranted by data, made phenomeno- logical sociology extremely wary of settling confidently on the description of anyone’s action until and unless that person and another retrospectively grounded the putative meaning in a subsequent course of conduct built on its foundations. As Tom Csordas’s comments above indicate, anthropolo- gists have not paused to study individual conduct outside situations of co- presence and immediate collaborative construction.
How, then, has phenomenology remained a flickering light in sociology? The sociological articles in this issue illustrate three ways in which the phenomenological tradition persists in inspiring sociological research. Phenomenological in its subtlety of observation and theoretical outlook, Patricia Paperman’s contribution continues the ethnomethodological emphasis that all sociology is built upon folk sociology. (For a rare example of an analogous ethnomethodological study of the practices of folk soci- ology that was accomplished in the anthropological tradition, see Frake, 1980.) Instead of asking what theory of emotions best characterizes police work (e.g. are police prejudiced?; are they professionally trained to operate beyond the provocations of affect?; is racial profiling a utilitarian or a vicious practice?), Paperman documents the folk theory tacitly used by the police to elicit and interpret inculpating behavior by users of the metro. While perhaps disappointing to those who wish to judge the police, this line of work asserts the ethnomethodologist’s paradoxical warrant for sociology, a claim at once magnificently grand and professionally humble. The basic idea is that, in order to act in society, everyone already must be doing soci- ology. Thus the phenomenological sociologist provides a final, conclusive response to radical doubts about the necessity of the sociological perspec- tive. Whether seen as a blessing or as original sin, we are destined to lifetime careers as sociological researchers. The only decision is whether, in a new statement of the classic challenge, one wishes to live the examined life.
Margarethe Kusenbach’s analysis of ‘going along’ as a distinctively productive tool for phenomenologically revealing research is also at once modest and ambitious. A distinctively sociological exercise, it tries to conventionalize research practice in ways that the methodologically preoccupied field of sociology can readily take up. But, despite the messi- ness of the challenge, it also courageously insists on including multiple time horizons and three-dimensional themes in the description of any moment’s social experience. Everyday social experience is not a matter of strategically putting selves on and off, but of constantly varying degrees of involvement and disengagement. Neighborhood life is not simply a matter of masks presented and withdrawn – one recalls here Erving Goffman’s early descrip- tions of Shetland Island homeowners discreetly peeking out windows to compose the right face for visitors coming to their front doors – but of
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developing ways of living the local environment that get residents more or less rooted, grounded or stuck in passing situations of action.
No-one just lives within the limited boundaries of face-to-face or immedi- ately situated action. Ironically, ‘symbolic interaction’ developed by marshalling research within those boundaries, even though its philosophical father, George Herbert Mead, was deeply involved in the effort to capture the past-acknowledging and future-casting time horizons of social action as it is immediately lived (Mead, 1938, 1959). A pragmatist to the core, Mead understood that the present exists only in dialectical relation to a past that it invokes and a future that calls out its details. ‘Symbolic interaction’ must be pushed by a phenomenological appreciation that the time and space ‘boundaries’ of ‘situations’ are themselves constantly constructed as existing independently of the action they are used to shape.
Kusenbach tames these wild notions by applying them to a very domestic topic, neighborhoods as social entities. She carefully demonstrates the value of the ‘go-along’ over against the interview, which cannot hope to elicit such mundane levels of experience, and also in contrast to participant obser- vation, which is systematically shut off from the time horizons that the subject carries in the natural privacy of ongoing biography. ‘Participant’ observation usually cannot hope to grasp meanings of the present that are rooted in vast and idiosyncratic temporal reaches. Where others who have been drawn to this pursuit have opted for a ‘subjective’ sociology and ‘authoethnography’ (Ellis and Flaherty, 1992; Bochner and Ellis, 2002), Kusenbach highlights a research tool that keeps the lens on others and facili- tates comparative investigation.
Robert Garot and Jack Katz emphasize a third trend in phenomenolog- ically inspired social research, the study of embodiment. Long before ‘habitus’ became an academic buzzword, Sudnow (1979, 1983, 2001), inspired by close readings of Merleau-Ponty to investigate piano playing, typewriting and computer game playing, was showing how to study the acquisition of the tacit body that creates the competency for socially format- ted behaviors. But as Howie Becker, who learned his music as an ensemble player, has noted, Sudnow is a soloist: his phenomenological investigations do not try to figure out how people play together, much less how they play out their lives together. The bodies that Garot and Katz study, if shaped in many private moments, only exist to be registered and reshaped in the charged interactions of everyday adolescent life.
What Garot and Katz try to understand is not what studies of embodi- ment usually describe, which is how people incorporate a pre-existing instrument or tool, take on a traditional practice or shape the bodily habitus required in a form of work. Like proud, even existentially defiant creators at the origins of social life, their high school students create a new skin or flesh. They craft and then become absorbed in a never-before-seen
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sensing/sensible outer layer of the self that at once gives impressions, regis- ters fluctuating charges, and enlivens and is enlivened by the more and less dynamic shells of others’ identities. For them, everyday life is a process of evoking and exploring the possibilities opened up as they maneuver their innovated bodily frameworks through situations that they are both constantly calculating and yet repeatedly falling into without advance notice.
At this point in the history of social research, it is no longer enough to insist that it takes a lot of practice to acquire the habitus of a given identity. What that embodied identity actively is, or how that novel body operates as people shape distinctive patterns in social interaction, must be specified if we are to move beyond rote invocations of philosophical standpoints. How does the natural, inevitable embodiment of a car in the process of interacting with other motorists shape the course of anger when driving? How does a 3-year-old’s use of her body to whine situationally structure the experience of love and domination among toddlers and adults (Katz, 1999)?
Garot and Katz remind us that we must stick with the interaction shaped, corporeal details. Their youths, so intently and elaborately fashioning a texture for identity, can be too easily debunked. Here, in a low-income, minority school setting for officially designated problem youth, the great historical debates over race, class and power may seem reduced to clownish make-up, histrionic body adornment and superficial sartorial flair. But that is to see appearance as only the inert objects used to create it rather than as a lived membrane and the provocateur of infinite drama. Always rubbing against the perceptions of authorities and peers, these young people create a lively shell of static electricity that effectively deflects awareness of the constructed nature of appearance. At one’s peril does one take these appear- ances as ‘only’ artifacts. Appearance in Katz and Garot’s inner-city school verges on one side to violence, on another to the erotic; always evocative, never inert, these shells do not make for a restful habitus. What sort of moral/historical/political position is being negotiated in these seemingly arti- factual layers of the self remains for further analysis, but Garot and Katz make clear that, for all its unseemly vanity and emphatic self-preoccupation, this appearance/flesh is where these young people live. And this is where we must find them if we are to understand the crucible of the self in which they are emerging.
What, then, does phenomenology mean for sociological ethnography? It means the study, through various participant observation-like methods, of the structures of the life-world, meaning the forms, structures or features that people take as objectively existing in the world as they shape their conduct upon the presumption of their prior, independent existence. Phenomenology is a natural perspective for ethnographic research that would probe beneath the locally warranted definitions of a local culture to
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grasp the active foundations of its everyday reconstruction. This research perspective is always to some extent irritating because the formal, represented, linguistic, materially congealed culture of a people never grasps the active bases of conduct in the social world that produces the culture. The culture as lived is never quite the same as the culture as represented.
In this sense, phenomenological ethnography is an anti-culture, a constant challenge to the presumption that culture, no matter its political slant, can capture its own living basis in real-time social action. If anthro- pology rests its disciplinary footing on the grounds of cultural analysis and ethnographic methods, phenomenology as it has entered sociological research may be especially disturbing because it always shows that culture effaces the processes of its creation. Because culture always makes moral claims, this is equivalent to saying that culture, including cultures produced by peoples who have been cruelly suppressed, systematically lies. And this is our dilemma, even when the production of our truths requires less courage and carries less saving grace than their lies.
Toward convergence
If there is anything that ethnographers share across the divide between anthropology and sociology it is a fierce personal independence rooted in extended periods of working alone or in small groups in culturally distinc- tive environments. Indeed, that profound commonality often seems an insurmountable irony standing in the way of proceeding within a common framework. In the present instance, the core of the irony is that while an ethnographic approach might seem the firmest bridge between the disci- plines, and while a shared phenomenological orientation might seem to be the smoothest pavement for such a bridge, we wonder whether, in the end, we will in fact have highlighted more than reduced the differences between anthropology and sociology. This is for the reader to decide. In our view, the disciplinary distinctions remain, but in ways that are genuinely comple- mentary. We read the anthropologists as exhibiting existential breadth without sacrificing presentational immediacy, and the sociologists as exhibiting descriptive precision without sacrificing a compelling sensibility for being-in-the-world.
The organization of this issue indicates our commitment as editors to our own disciplines as well as a nagging discomfort about maintaining separate paths. We recognize a great overlap in the foundational sources that we respect as inspirational. And we recognize the commonality of topics that others in our separate disciplines largely ignore, topics such as temporality, intersubjectivity, embodiment, and the relationship between behavior and
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experience. In particular, what some of our colleagues have come too often and too casually to gloss as an unelaborated ‘habitus’ we would open up to more sustained attention. But we are not yet at a point where we can persuade an array of independent investigators to speak a common language, much less to announce a common discipline of phenomenological ethnography.
This issue may be seen as a first step toward a more shared dialogue. As is generally the case with baby steps, the next advances toward forging a research agenda that can encompass both the anthro and soc practitioners may have to be taken by those not yet in the full stride of their careers. We are gratified that our call for submissions on phenomenological ethnogra- phy has not only produced a bright array of compelling studies, but that these studies, read as a whole, may also serve to reinforce a call for tran- scending the many divisions that this journal has targeted, divisions between generations of researchers, between philosophy and sociology, between US, European, Latin American and non-Western scholars, and between the sister academic disciplines that sustain ethnography.
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JACK KATZ is Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles. His recent writings have been on emotions, popular culture about crime, and ethnographic methods. His current research includes studies of ‘the visible unconscious’, or the practices of hiding that underlie interaction-recognized behavior; the social formation of experience in public places; and neighborhoods in Los Angeles. His contribution to this article is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation
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under Grant No. 0139665. Address: Department of Sociology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095–1551, USA. [email: jackkatz@soc.ucla.edu]
THOMAS J. CSORDAS is Professor of Anthropology and Religion, Case Western Reserve University. His most recent book is Body/Meaning/Healing (Palgrave, 2002). Address: Department of Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106–7125, USA. [email: txc9@po.cwru.edu] ■ 

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