Horyzont — Nawrócenie — Narracja. Tożsamość i obcość w naukowym świecie humanistów
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The subject I am considering is the narrative partitioning that is present in the discourse of research communities within the humanities, in particular in the field of cultural anthropology and sociology. Narrative partitioning, when it concerns individual researchers, rests upon a fact that what is private expresses itself solely outside the official public scientific discourse. On the other hand, when the mentioned narrative partitioning concerns the research community, it manifests itself as a sort of abstention or narrative quietness – “the silence” of private (experiences’) histories; their removal into the shadow, or even their annihilation by the dominant narrative, accepting, for instance, only “the pure scientificity”, and warning against any confessional attempts, or simply excluding them. I try to demonstrate how the phenomenon of narrative partitioning may be analyzed using concepts (borrowed from Bernard J.F. Lonergan and much indebted to hermeneutics) of the horizon (in the metaphorical sense) and conversion, understood as a change of the horizon and a transformation in belonging to the scientific community (i.e. – as in the case of Thomas S. Kuhn – where the replacement of a research paradigm had much to do with religious conversion). Moreover, I employ some additional terms that describe narrative ways, introduced by a humanist scholar, of coping with the situation of living in two separate “worlds”: public and private. This very duality occurs particularly glaringly when, for example, official scientific discourse demands religious indifference (or what has already been known by the name of an anthropological atheism), while private discourse is based upon religious faith and religious participation which together carry a religious obligation to bear witness through narratives, especially in public situations. Therefore, the case of Mircea Eliade helps me to present difficulties in accepting his phenomenology of religion – transformed, as it is said here and there, in a kind of confession – experienced by much of the scientific world of humanists, including ethnologists. Moreover, this case reveals how the search for identity that oversteps common schemes and accepted norms, exposes one, in science, to rejection, and evokes an undeniable feeling of foreignness (or alienation). The case of Margaret M. Poloma illustrates what the researcher does when she wishes to avoid such a sense of foreignness (alienation) and narrative partitioning, when she, thus, wishes to preserve the unity of narratives in the world of academic sociology and in the private world of engagement (after her religious conversion) in Pentecostal movement. Both of the cases, like many similar situations, manifest the clash of communal standards of a value-free science, in particular “unseasoned” with religious notions – as in the case of anthropology or sociology – and life experiences of researchers, leading to moral tensions inside individuals as well as within research communities.
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