CANADIAN ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE SENSES - AN ALTERNATIVE TO POSTMODERNISM (Kanadyjska antropologia zmyslow - alternatywa wobec postmodernizmu)
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The author presents the orientation of the anthropology of the senses, which has been developing in Canada since mid 1980s. She discusses the founding initiative, the role of the critique of modernism, the consequences of the dominance of the sense of sight in Western culture and the theoretical findings to date. She elaborates on the treatment of the senses as the basic filter and creator of knowledge about the world, which conditions any other form of man's mental and physical activity. Canadian researchers treat perception as the area of cultural processes; they detach themselves from the error of treating sensory experience as a natural phenomenon. This approach contradicts modernist, cognitive and postmodernist concepts of learning about the world and its cultural interpretation. Using ethnographic data on 'chemical' senses and the tactile sense opens an entirely new field of experience for cultural anthropology. Canadian anthropologists, using special research techniques, learn about different possibilities of experiencing the world and interpreting it through the senses. With this data, they try to overcome theoretical and epistemological limitations of contemporary anthropology, enrich its theoretical instruments and change its quality. The project to create a completely new research orientation, started by the anthropologists of the Concordia University in Montreal, has not been completed yet. But it can be said that the Canadian anthropology of the senses has initiated an important epistemological breakthrough in social sciences.
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