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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Professor Christina Toren: Imagining the world that warrants our imagination ­a Fijian ontogeny

5th February 2009, 17:15 to 18:15, Seminar Room, Department of Anthropology

This is the eighth lecture in the Rhetoric of Personhood Seminar Series.

How are we to explain the process through which, in the course of making sense inter-subjectively of the environing world, people bring themselves into being as makers of history? By means of an analysis of Fijian children¹s ideas concerning their lives as adults, the paper explores ideas of sociality, personhood and the self that are the very stuff of inter-subjectivity and thus of the imagination.

The data in focus are derived from 76 essays by Fijian village children aged between 7 and 15 years old collected in April 2005. Seen through the perspective derived from long-term participant observer fieldwork, these data enable a phenomenological analysis of meaning-making as an historical process in which, throughout their lives, people make meaning out of meanings made by others and in doing so imagine the world that warrants their imaginations. Incidentally, the material also demonstrates how an analysis of ontogeny enables comparison.

Contact m.b.carrithers@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.