Georges Devereux and Clinical Ethnopsychiatry
In the past ten years, the field of French-speaking social sciences has witnessed the emergence of a new paradigm: ethnopsychiatry. Clearly, it had already happened that within ten to twenty years after the massive arrival of immigrants, Western psychiatry produced a sub-discipline crossbreeding anthropology and psychiatry. Indeed, comparable research programs appeared after World War Two, in the 50’s and 60’s, in the US and Canada, in the 70’s in Britain, Germany and Holland, and are flourishing today, in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium etc… In the United States, both empirical and classifying orientations were adopted, sign of the times or locally inspired: first, Folk Psychiatry, then Transcultural or Cross Cultural Psychiatry, and Medical Anthropology. In France, yet another sign of the times or local inspiration, as soon as ethnopsychiatry was developed in its clinical aspects it became the object of violent conflict, as if one aimed to force the discipline into a political debate rigged from the onset – pitting communities against the Republic, culturalism against universalism. Yet nothing is farther from the spirit of ethnopsychiatry than this imposed state of war. For almost twenty years, since the creation of the first ethnopsychiatry clinic at Avicenne Hospital, and for five years now at the Georges Devereux Center (2), part of the Psychology department of the University of Paris 8, the discipline has consistently provided a space for experimenting mediation. Now, in order to mediate one must first acknowledge misunderstandings, oppositions, conflicts, good or bad reasons to hold each other in contempt – in other words: recognize conflict, define it, and then take diplomatic action.
To act according to this philosophy of mediation amounts to putting confidence in an acceptable peace, in the possibility of learning to live with others. But the political situation in France doesn’t account for everything and the contradictions inherent to the field itself must be considered, as well as the personality of the man who introduced these questions: Georges Devereux.
“Go find a master…”
In the course of my formative years, I encountered schoolteachers, educators, professors, guides… Towards them, I experienced admiration or anger – often indifference – before them, I felt fear or pride; at times they rewarded me; often they scolded me, sometimes they humiliated me – most often they ignored me and that was how it should be! Only once did I experience the pain of having a master. In his presence, I felt suspended, as though any personal thinking were interrupted. This experience somewhat resembles entering a convent – in fact for a long time, a very long time, I felt cloistered within his thinking. I traveled the spaces, theories, beings and yet I remained confined to the very spot where he had left me since our last meeting. My ideas followed the strict progression of what he accepted to entrust me with. I must point out that this wasn’t deliberate on his part, rather, it was a mechanism, a sort of machinery. Actually, I didn’t like meeting with him; I avoided those one on one encounters during which he confidently purred away… reminiscing, uttering sentences which were sometimes profound, sometimes merely reasonable, dispensing advice or criticism, which he gave out generously. Our work meetings were long – lasting four hours, twelve hours… I would come out crushed. He dislocated me, as one takes apart a puppet ; he broke my shell as one shells a walnut, he stoned me like an olive, throwing my naked flesh out to the world… And it was like a new beginning: I was left with the courage and recklessness of newborns.
The contradictions of theoretical ethnopsychiatry
The ethnopsychiatry which Georges Devereux taught us was theoretical, descriptive and explanatory. He made out index cards sorting out thousands of anecdotes of all kinds, field notes, short clinical observations. This is how he constructed his books; he also taught in this fashion. His rare lectures – he didn’t like giving talks, and preferred to debate, argue, discuss – were a long list of small observations. For over thirty years, he had patiently accumulated unusual, contradictory, paradoxical facts. Though he was always attempting audacious conceptual breakthroughs, original constructions, his true passion was that of the scholar, his ambition, knowledge. Yet his theory of complementarism, inspired by Jordan, Bohr and Heisenberg isn’t that of a practitioner of physics designing experimental set ups to try to capture the electron, but rather it is that of a creator of general theories of matter. His writings are peppered with general statements on the nature of beings : humans are like this; culture is that; the superego is made up of this, stress of that.
1. The first was to compel the clinician to take into consideration facts he didn’t know about, whose existence he never even suspected, to whom he therefore gave no importance a priori – for example that one can read psychological disorders through the lens of specific cultural determinants. In other words : the statement (number 1) : B, son of A, himself the head of a Fon lineage of Benin, was driven mad by the voduns because he refused to take on the ritual responsibility incumbent upon him since his father’s death is as true as the statement (number 2): B was overcome by a profound melancholic sadness following the death of his father, A, to whom he was strongly attached by bonds both deep and ambivalent. This first blast still hasn’t been metabolized by the field of clinical psychotherapy which, up until now, hasn’t been able to take it into consideration technically, forever trying to be rid of the first statement.
2. The second impact is methodological. For Devereux, psychoanalysis creates the phenomenon it observes.
It is therefore the task of the psychoanalyst to always create fruitful material, open to elaboration, to new productions, to life. For, just as a biologist can set up experimental designs which, taken too far, can destroy the very object of his experiment, a psychoanalyst is always at risk of creating a clinical situation turning the patient into a vegetable.(6)
Thus, as early as 1966, Devereux had reached crucial methodological formulations regarding psychoanalysis – formulations in which he attributes the entire responsibility of the process to the psychoanalyst who provokes, triggers, creates, who, in the end, generates and interprets his own productions. This also underscores the responsibility of the therapist and the intellectual dead-ends in which the interpretation of possible therapeutic failures inevitably get stuck.
As I said earlier, as early as 1981, we seized upon the methodological premisses of ethnopsychiatry in order to develop new practices. I must point out that, for ten years, Devereux’s seminar was attended by young psychiatrists and psychologists, who were all faced with new clinical problems that were starting to appear in France. From then on, ethnopsychiatry was redefined by force of circumstance, moving beyond its status as a descriptive theory towards the invention of therapeutic settings for the treatment of immigrant populations. This ethnopsychiatry was first and foremost a research approach to clinical work, but it also constituted a theoretical and political experiment. For, if it prompted us to rethink the practice of psychoanalysis, I believe it also led us to think in an radically new way about the place we are willing to give to immigrant populations and their cultures in the modern societies we are contributing to build.
In fact, I would gladly define the Georges Devereux Center as an experimental space for mediation between scientific systems of thought, and thought systems brought with them by immigrant populations. At a time of what is referred to as globalization, it seems impossible for us to consider actual social practices – as well as political action, in fact – without addressing the question of the place we attribute to systems from other worlds.
Languages versus language (langue et langage)
But let us return to clinical considerations. Changes in settings which stem from the questioning of doctrine often result in fruitful innovations. I can say today that simply introducing a translator in the psychotherapeutic setting sufficed to turn upside down the pleasing theoretical construct that was ours at the beginning. First, the patients’ statements were no longer « interpretable » – or more precisely: the interpretation – and namely psychoanalytic interpretation – appeared oddly superfluous. Indeed, what place was to be given to slips of the tongue, or to specific arrangements of signifiers when the primary urgency first resided in the literal comprehension, then in the necessary comparison of the systems thus brought together – and first of all the languages! I claim that the diffidence my psychoanalyst colleagues generally display towards languages – and not language – stems from the fact that introducing a second language and its necessary representatives (translators, family, friends) makes it impossible to « listen », according to the usual sense we give that word in our profession. An then, we gradually discovered that it wasn’t merely a matter of speaking the language of the patient, but also of speaking about languages. In the end, this is a considerable advantage because speaking about languages, publicly discussing the translation of the patient’s and his family’s statements ipso facto turns the patient into an expert, a necessary partner, an ally in an enterprise of exploration, knowledge and especially of acting on negativity. Indeed, the mediator’s translation, immediately submitted to the patient, becomes debatable, invites contradiction. He or she can discuss the subtleties, the intention; comment on the partiality of the translator. For if the words of the patient become questions about his world, and as such about the world, these questions, quite understandably, are of interest not only to the therapist. As soon as they appear, the patients join the debate, contributing to the translation, to the discussion of etymologies, the exploration of the thousands of mechanisms at work in the making of possible statements, the choices allowed by the language and those it prohibits.(8)
The question of recovery
This notion also solves the old problem posed by recovery and the endless question: can one consider recoveries obtained by cultural therapies as being of the same nature as those obtained through “scholarly” therapies? What I refer to as “scholarly” therapies are those psychotherapies claiming to proceed from the scientific observation of “nature.” It goes without saying that I am in no way taking a stance on their scientific value. The question of recovery is crucial because if, on the one hand, therapeutic systems are radically heterogeneous, and, on the other, recoveries obtained by these different systems were all of the same nature, we would then have to abandon the claim of theories of psychopathology to a general explanation, both of disorders and of action upon the disorders. Yet, to think in this way clearly seems too difficult – professionals’ resistances are huge! This explains why most authors who have attempted conceptualizations in the field of ethnopsychiatry have always proposed Western-based explanations of the therapeutic effects of cultural systems, effects which have been routinely observed. They ascribe the improvements observed in patients either to “transference” (Roheim), to “suggestion” (Freud and many psychoanalysts after him), to the “placebo effect”,(9) to “beliefs” (Levi-Strauss) or to “social reorganizations” (Zempleni, along with many anthropologists). Some, like Devereux, do not recognize any real effect other than palliative:
Transference, suggestion, placebo effect, belief… these are all “Western” concepts which make it possible to reject cultural explanations by interpreting them. Of course, the days are over (yet it wasn’t so long ago) when the thought of “primitive” peoples was considered prelogic,(11) magical or infantile .(12) But today, interpretation – be it sociological, structuralist or psychoanalytic – is the principal instrument used to disqualify theories belonging to groups and communities, and, consequently, to disqualify their therapeutic practices(13). Those who from the start deny actors in a system the capacity to totally account for the system they manage, are doomed to interpret these actors’ theories, their results, the entire system. As a result we have a psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst, an ethnographer feeling at home everywhere he (or she) goes. Such a nomad will tend to annex any cultural therapy he approaches, translating it into ready-made theoretical tokens. Having become an expert, he won’t learn anything of substance about the people with whom he comes into contact. Isabelle Stengers has perfectly described this problem:
So, we must take a stance: do cultural therapies cure patients? Or, even worse, do they cure them for the “wrong reasons”(15)? This is the first question we will have to answer seriously. In any event, it is always in the name of recovery that the Senegalese patient continues to consult the marabout, the Moroccan to consult the fkih and the patient from the Limousin the magnetic healer. Since, justifiably, it is by way of this criteria that patients allow the persistence – and even the development(16)– of such systems, making it possible for the objects of their worlds to continue manufacturing new cases, new beings, we must pay attention to their arguments. The Moroccan has usually experienced that amulets heal; the Senegalese that sand speaks, and the person from the Limousin that hands convey a fluid. They don’t believe in the healer, as is generally claimed, they respect the objects of the professional: an amulet, sand, a fluid – and the mastery he has acquired.
The question of the validity of cultural theories:
How should we consider the concepts which organize cultural therapeutic systems? As “representations,” “beliefs” or genuine theories? If we think of them as “representations,” we deny them, in effect, any claim to describing objects of the world: they speak of things, we, of representations; they, of the action of the fetishes, we, of the belief in the action of the fetishes; they, of the demands of the dead, we, of mourning feelings; they, of the constraints imposed by the gods, we, of “paternal complexes” If we could find a way to respect their claim of describing the world, then we should consider cultural therapeutic systems as genuine theories. And if theories they are, it becomes necessary 1) to learn them; 2) to experiment with them concretely; 3) to compare their clinical efficiency, or at least their concrete effects, with the efficiency of “scholarly” therapies. This is a challenge, in as much as these theories often aren’t taught but rather they are transmitted through initiation. Moreover, these theories are rarely explicit, never presented as systems of ideas. Rather, they inform the technical actions of the therapist and can only be re-constructed. Finally, to consider them as genuine systems of thought would require of those who decide to learn them that they more or less adopt the professional identity of those who practice them. Yet it is socially impossible for a Western clinician to take on the identity of a Colombian shaman, a Moroccan fkih, a Nigerian baba-lawo – not to mention that of a magnetic healer from the Limousin! Here again, we come up against professional resistances. This is why, to avoid the problem, most authors(17) consider cultural theories, as “pre-notions,” “fantasies,” “beliefs” and sometimes even as the survival in adults of infantile sexual theories.(18) As was often the case, G. Devereux recognized the problem and expressed himself vividly on the subject:
It should be noted that for Devereux, should the theories of traditional therapists prove to be of interest, they would be so only in terms of intuition. Thus, he writes further-on in the same text, referring to the Sedans in Viet Nam :
Yet cultural theories are perceived by those who make use of such therapeutic systems as being as genuine as « scholarly » theories. Patients, and we have all experienced this, do not oppose the two worlds. Rather, they try to take advantage of both. Indeed, it is the « scholars » who are at war, not the clients! At war with each other, in the first place,(21) but also with those they designate as “charlatans.” Again, the ethnopsychiatrist should follow the users’ example when constructing his concepts, taking seriously cultural theories – approaching them not as “representations”, but as genuine theories the specific rationale and necessity of which he will have to explicit. In brief, he will have to explain how the phenomenon apprehended by these theories is apprehended correctly and how these theories permit an effective grasp of the world.
What to do about groups?
Ethnopsychiatry needs the concept of “culture”, or at least a concept acknowledging the existence of groups. French anthropologists and especially sociologists have an increasing tendency to do without such a concept (often with good reason), preferring the more vague notions of « worlds » or « universes ». Moreover, the increasingly active processes of globalization of information, habits, laws, commodities, tend to make this notion seem out-of-date, perhaps somewhat prematurely obsolete. Yet at the same time, a series of new elements have emerged reminding us that in psychopathology, groups cannot be done away with – whether such groups are referred to as “ethnic groups” or as “communities.” Indeed, more and more frequently “therapists” appear who re-invent “cultural” treatment systems. For example, a Tahitian Tahua who, in the wake of an existential crisis, suddenly decides to seek initiation among the New Zealand Maori and is tattooed there from head to toe;(22) or a woman healer in a Mali village who organizes (invents? re-invents?) new rituals to the djinnas claiming all the while that she is merely re-instating a timeless tradition; (23) or a female nganga, a healer from Northern Congo, settled in Brazzaville, who creates a new method of extracting malignancy.(24) And what of this healer from a social housing development in the northern suburbs of Paris who reads the cards for the depressed unemployed on the dole?(25) These people all gather around them numerous patients. They present and see themselves as “cultural” therapists. It seems to me that, today, if the social sciences are to be innovative, they must imperatively conceive of methods allowing for these « subjects » to be considered as competent and creative, in no way puppets or robots! For, after all, these people haven’t chosen to be initiated in just any old trade but in the art of healing. Our observations in ethnopsychiatry have increasingly led us to a somewhat strange hypothesis: It may be that psychopathology and culture entertain stronger bonds than was once suspected. For if it turned out that nowadays, in this period of globalization, it were mostly through an illness – or one of its most pernicious forms, the obligation to heal others – that “culture” might suddenly invest a person, then illness – and especially mental illness – and culture would form a couple more closely linked than ever before, though such an alliance would remain as mysterious as ever.(26)
Attempts in this field – ethnopsychiatry, transcultural psychiatry, comparative psychiatry, folk psychiatry – always started from the acknowledgment of differences, but then got bogged down in an endeavor to recapture universality. This is what renders them “soft,” fragile and, of course, questionable. Most of the time, the authors adopt the hypothesis according to which the psychological or psychopathological structure is universal, merely “colored” by culture. Jilek, for example, quite rightly points out that the usual position in “comparative psychiatry” has been to consider culture as having a pathoplastic rather than pathogenic influence on psychopathological symptoms.(32) Some authors, considering the strangeness of pathologies referred to by Anglo-Saxons as culture bound syndromes, venture a little farther, though quite timidly. Michael Kenny, for example, proposes the idea that certain morbid entities, such as smallpox or the measles are unequivocally universal, whereas the Malaysian latah would be a sort of “social theater”.(33) It remains to be seen, however, in what way a “social theater” might make up a psychopathology. Georges Devereux was perhaps alone in noting that this constituted a true epistemological problem calling for the creation of a full-fledged discipline. Yet it must be said that his works are replete with the same type of contradictions I have indicated. For instance: if there is an irreducible specificity to Mohave psychopathology,(34) through what miracle could psychoanalysis possibly account for it? Indeed, even reduce it to something already known elsewhere? Unless we consider this psychopathology to be in no way specific; or rather that its specificity is nothing but an illusion. Here we find ourselves almost insulting the Mohave, sympathetically considering them poor theoreticians, barely capable of naïvely approaching – and only “symbolically” – Freud’s thinking.
If ethnopsychiatry is constructivist, then the patient loses his status as an object, a strange and feeble being to be probed until interesting elements come to light. It is no longer possible to “interpret” her functioning with a theory. She becomes a necessary partner, an indispensable alter ego in a common research enterprise. Ethnopsychiatry has developed the habit of rethinking with the patient both his personal suffering – as do talk therapies – as well as the theories which have informed this suffering, which have, as we have seen, constructed and elaborated it… To generalize the logic of ethnopsychiatry to all patients, regardless of their origin, would lead us never to hesitate in considering them as “constructed” as “cases;” to postulate that this manufacturing concerns and interests them; and that they are the privileged recipient of what the theory thinks about them. Thereby promoted informant, the patient is invited to discuss the observations of the therapists, to argue their hypotheses, and finally to share the responsibility of the treatment thereby worked out in common.
Although Georges Devereux probably would’ve disagreed – but can the dead be made to speak? – both technically and politically with the practice of clinical ethnopsychiatry – I am firmly convinced that his inspiration has been passed on. His continuous strive towards scientific rigour and specialization; his never-ending interest in related disciplines, biology, ethology, physics, what wasn’t yet referred to as cognitive psychology, considered as practices and not results, constitute, in my opinion, the most innovative aspect of his work. It is for this reason that we chose to name after him the university centre I have directed for the past five years. And it is this perspective, which we can qualify today as materialistic, constructivist and research-oriented that the ethnopsychiatry I practice attempts to take as far as clinical work will allow.
Finally, to conclude, I would now define ethnopsychiatry as follows:
Translated from the French by Catherine Grandsard
In a classic cultural anthropological text titled Tuhami: Portrait of a Moroccan, by Professor Vincent Crapanzano embarks on a fascinating tale of she demons, and an attempt to discover new ways of writing ethnography. My initial reaction to his work was mere fascination by Tuhami’s story, but the more you peal away at Crapanazano’s fantastic prose and dig beneath the surface of the story, another story about an ethnographer and his readers is unveiled. What follows some may call a book review, but I hesitate in doing so because I do not want this text – which is endowed by some authority by the mere fact that it is posted online in a respected blog – to be a definitive re-statement (of sorts) of Crapanzano’s work. Instead, in the spirit of experimentation, what follows is my initial reflection to his work. Rather than a review, I suggest you read the book, which is a great read and unlike many ethnographies, it’s short.
In the Introduction, Crapanzano writes,
“The subject of Tuhami’s tale is ontologically different from the subject of those tales with which we in the west are familiar. Generic differences are not simply formal differences. They are cultural constructs and reflect those most fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality, including the nature of the person and the nature of language” (pg 7).
After reading Crapanzano’s book, I found myself searching for the ontological differences and what or who the subject of his (who exactly the “his” indexes to I leave open for discussion) story is.
Throughout the book, we are described fantastic tales of struggle against demonic forces or against oneself. Typically, we (again who “we” refers to is left open—is it “westerners”, all of humanity, the theorist, the reader, etc..) think of demonic forces in terms of ontology in two possible ways. The first is that they absolutely exist, the second is that they absolutely do not exist. The dichotomy is testimony to the western abandonment of the supernatural for a reductionist approach motivated by the search for scientific objectivity. I ask myself which is true for Tuhami and which is true for Crapanazno, or rather for myself. I believe that they are indeed real for Tuhami. Demons are absolutely real and serve as objects in Tuhami’s ontology. For Crapanzano, they are “symbolic-interpretive elements” (pg75), they are explanations, and have no ontological reality, or better objectivity.
Interestingly, Crapanzano writes, “Tuhami had been speaking the truth from the start…” (pg 130). It seems that from the beginning we see an inescapable truth. The truth is we cannot escape ourselves. We are subject to our own cultural constructs, which we have very little control over. Heidegger put it best when he said that we find ourselves thrown into the world. We don’t really have control of what our world is, we simply find ourselves thrown into it, and have to make do. We find this throwness (as Heidegger put it) evident in the fact that we cannot seem to know that demons are real, as opposed to can be real, ontological objects. Instead, its very natural that we simply brush aside the notion that they are absolutely real for Tuhami, and instead fall back to theorizing and our fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality. In a sense, we stop ourselves from knowing, and compromise with understanding. We are inescapably stuck in our way of seeing, speaking, listening, interpreting, and understanding. The walls that create the constructs of our understanding are the things that make us who we are. Consequently, we cannot escape ourselves and are limited to an epistemology of self. Knowledge outside oneself seems inaccessible.
The most we can do is understand (never really know), as Crapanzano does when he writes that
“… the real was a metaphor for the true– and not identical with it. Tuhami had been speaking the truth from the very start…, but I had been listening only for the real, which I mistook for the true“ (pg 130).
Parting from Crapanzano, can we say that Tuhami had been speaking the real and the true, only the real for Tuhami was not real for Crapanzano? The real was not real, or at least real and not-real (in true Platonic fashion), for Crapanzano because it was foreign to the contextual framework he was working within. Demons are real for Tuhami and thus he has access to knowledge about them we are unable to have. For Crapanzano the only sense in which they are real is that they are symbolic-interpretive elements, and can only be understood as such.
In addition, we see that Crapanzano himself fears the notion that there are other equally successful ways of constituting reality. He writes that such a notion “is always threatening” and that “it may produce a sort of epistemological vertigo and demand a position of extreme cultural relativism” (pg 8). Crapanzano writes that his work is a reaction to anthropology’s failed attempts to deal with the matter. Yet, latter we find that Crapanzano ends up saying that even his own relativism has its limits (pg 133).
In coming full circle now, we can try to answer the questions posed earlier: what or who is the subject? Is the subject of Tuhami’s tales himself? He is. The stories Tuhami tells are stories about she-demons, but they are also stories about seduction, captivation, enslavement, identity, etc… Such themes apply directly to Tuhami. So the subject of Tuhami’s stories is ontologically different because Tuhami’s ontology is different from the west. Within his world, demons are ontologically objective, much like atoms are ontologically objective for a physcist. However, the subject of the stories told by Tuhami and the text constructed by Crapanzano is also Crapanzano himself. Crapanzano gives us a description of his reading and his notes. We gain our own insight into Crapanzano’s reactions to Tuhami’s stories, his insights, views, ideas, biases, etc… So Crapanzano is very much the subject of his own work as well. Additionally, what I consider one of the stronger points of the book, is that anyone can bring to the reading what ever they will. Ethnography, for me at least, is a way of exploring, not only the intended subject, but myself as well. Due to this, we are also given the chance to become the subject of the book, and in general ethnography itself.
In being the subject of this text (my text or Crapanzano’s), I ask can we question our own fundamental beliefs about the nature of reality, or in other words are demons real for you?
Tuhami: Portrait of a Moroccan. Vincent Cmpanzano. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980. xv + 187 pp. $17.50 (cloth). Laurence Loeb University of Utah
Tuhami is an unusual and provoking portrait of a Moroccan informant. It is also a venture in self-discovery, but its real intent is to question the assumptions about the nature of the rela- tionship of an anthropologist to the object of study. Thia self-examination is more than an ex- tmsion of the “new ethnography” and action- anthropologiata’ premises about the advantages of subjectivity in the promotion of the subject society’s goals. Crapanzano instead follows the path embarked upon by Rabinow (Refections on Fieldwork in Morocco, 1977) and othen who have attempted to clear the air about the discipline’s earlier naive proposition that an- thropologists aa outsiders can maintain a sem- blance of objectivity by social distancing and avoidance of preconceived notions about the society being studied. The author attempts both philosophically and psychologically to come to grips with perspectives of society as “subject” m. “object” and informant as automaton of infor- mation m. informant aa human being-whose needs reach out and engulf the anthropologist in a web of personal and emotional entangle- ments. Tuhami emerges as a most interesting yet ir- ritating and perhaps wen exasperating per- sonality, whose reliability aa an informant must be constantly questioned. Tuhami waa a villager, orphaned aa a boy, and obligated to support his mother and sister. The author de- scribes him as middle-aged, gentle, dark ski~ed, and illiterate. Yet Tuhami waa ob- viously exceptional even by indigenous stan- dards, since in a society demanding strict segre- gation of the sexes, he was trusted to be among the women. His moat outstanding characteristic waa mamage to a spirit, ‘Aisha Qandisha, who demanded total submission to her will. It was this feature in particular that attracted the initial interest of the author. Crapanzano sham with us his attempts to understand how Tuhami came to his present circumstances in the city of Meknes. his sentiments towards women, mystic orders, spirits, and his social/economic condi- tion. Throughout his many, sometimes intricate disclosures, the reader is troubled by contradic- tions and exaggerations. The author points out that Tuhami’s tales are often structured like
466 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [83, 19811 fairy tales. As a reader, I would often find myself asking why I needed to read these far- fetched creations. As an anthropologist, what was I learning about Moroccan society from such an apparently confused person? Fortu- nately, the author shares like sentiments with the reader, sensitively interposing himself be- twem the narrative and audience at the crucial junctures. He too wrestles with the “real” and “imaginary,” “truth” and “fiction.” As the author puts it: I did not then understand that the real was a metaphor for the true-and not identical with it. Tuhami had been speaking the truth from the very start . . . but I had been listen- ing only for the real, which I mistook for the true. The truth was for me the real masked by the metaphor. Such wapl my cultural bias [p. 1301. What ultimately happens to Tuhami is less im- portant than the evolving relationship between informant and anthropologist. As the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle emerge from the encounters and are placed in their proper relationship, as the multidimensional human being takes life with our (and the author’s) increasing compre- hension, as Tuhami becomes more than a source of data, empathy with and sympathy for him grow. In the last sections of the book, the author concedes: I knew that I could no longer maintain ethnographic distance. Tuhami’s appeal was too great, and I myself too much of an acti- vist, to accept what I understood then to be his pamivity before forces externalized in ‘Aisha Qandisha, the saints, and ultimately Allah. I was a doer, and I came from a culture of doers. . . . His beliefs, I was con- vinced at the moment, held him back; they hindered his self-expression and impeded his self-reliance; they precluded the poanibility of self-overcoming. They were a sanctioned ground for rationalization. There was, I realized, a limit to my relativism. Z became a curer [p. 133, emphasis added]. Crapanzano’s intervention as a therapist is alluded to in the briefest of terms and was in fact only a short-term effort. As such, its effects were quite predictable. This slim volume, offered as an “experiment” (p. ix), succeeds in evoking numerous questions, the sine qua non of good scholarship. The author, Wisely avoiding any psychologically de- fined diagnosis (it would have complicated the prcacntation enormously), nevertheless admits to engaging in cross-cultural psychotherapy. Was he competent to have done so? Had he cal- culated the relevant factors correctly? Why was a local curer not engaged? Was not the effort too little and was it not too late in the field study to have commenced such an undertaking? After exposing the “patient” to the source of his prob- lems, was it fair then to abandon him? The ethical implications of this kind of questioning will no doubt be debated by many scholars in the years to come, but I, for one, am beholden to the author for having the temerity to present what has no doubt occurred in other field con- texts and has at the least crmd the mind of every anthropologist with the least modicum of human sympathy. Other questions concern the implications of such a narrowly defined work for the under- standing of Moroccan society as a whole. Is Moroccan life as dull and boring as the author suggests (e.g., pp. 34-35)? Are the kinds of ex- periences related by Tuhami, whether real or imaginery, shared widely among Moroccan men? Do Tuhami’a ideas and action fall within the range of acceptable Moroccan behavior or is he considered sick? This book is well written, appropriately in- dexed and, best of all, disturbing. It may well be a landmark in ethnographic candor, of in- estimable value to field-workers and humanists alike.
By Mustapha Akhoullou https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2012/07/48102/moroccan-women-in-vincent-crapanzanos-book-tuhami-2/
Agadir – It is self-evident that the issue of women is one of the dominant issues in V. C’s book Tuhami. Crapanzano, throughout his book, tends to associate Tuhami’s psychological traumas with a historical crisis between Tuhami and women. Women, according to Moroccan mindset, were/are highly perceived and conceived, at least by men, as inferior, dependent, and cannot control their sexual impulses. Crapanzano backs up his orientalist discourse towards Moroccan women’s inferiority with Moroccan folk wisdom by quoting the sixteenth century poet Sidi Abderrahman El Mejdoub who says:
Women’s intrigues are mighty.
To protect myself I never stop running.
Women are belted with serpents
And bejeweled with scorpions. (p.30)
This “phallic-aggressive” imagery, according to Crapanzano, is what gave birth to the so-called demonic image “Aicha Quandisha” and other “Jinniyya.” Tuhami is merely a replica of other Tuhamis in Morocco. Having said that, analyzing Tuhami is, by and large, analyzing Moroccan society as a whole, and by doing so, Crapanzano joins the orientalist discourse and positions himself in the historical dichotomy of self and the other. Crapanzano states:
“Women are presumed to require the strictest vigilance. The Moroccan world, like other North African and Middle Eastern worlds, is split dramatically into the women’s world of hearth and home and the man’s world of mosque and marketplace. Although a Moroccan man may enter or leave his home as he pleases, a Moroccan woman has no such freedom. (p.31)”
This orientalist representation of women transcends the practical experience in Moroccan society. Having said this, so far, Crapanzano, along with other orientalists, circles his analysis in an over-generalized framework. Crapanzano’s over-generalization extended itself into marriage and women in Morocco. Women, as Crapanzano understand, are double-oppressed, before marriage on the one hand when they (women) are under the surveillance of their parents and brothers. In other words, preserving and controlling their sexual impulses is in a way or another preserving family honor. On the other hand, women’s oppression seems to continue in their husbands’ houses. This oppression, according to Crapanzano, is practiced by their husbands, but it is often practiced by their mother-in-law. Yet, this is done out of maintaining the continuity of honor-preserving. In this case, a wife must ask permission so as to do any activity outside her husband’s home, such as paying visits to her family, going to Hammam, and so on and so forth.
Within the prevailing image of women in Morocco –an image of the women themselves often accept as reality– is a changing evaluation from positive to negative, which is reflected in the common belief that women are born with a hundred angels and men with a hundred devils and that over lifetime the angels move to the men and devils to the women. (p.32)
Crapanzano uses Tuhami as a tube through which the flow of orientalist (re)presentations would be fluid. The idea Crapanzano wants to highlight throughout his book is that Tuhami, from a psychoanalytic standpoint, has a phobia towards women which has re-shaped the crisis in his relationships with women and eventually leads to be enslaved by the so-called demonic image “Aisha Quandisha.”
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Mustapha Akhoullou is a student in a master’s program entitled “Cross-cultural and Literary Studies” at the Faculty of Arts, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdollah Sais, Fes.
2005年３月 1Ritsumeikan Social Sciences Review第40巻第４号Writing Culture: The Dynamics and Ambiguity of Ethnographic ProductionSAKAMOTO Toshiko
＊Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ritsumeikan University
The portrait of the Moroccan also represents some ambiguity because the anthropologist isnot only an observer of Tuhami’s life but becomes an active participant in their ethnographicencounter. The book suggests to me the essential questions of observation and representation inethnographic writing because the dialectic between Tuhami and Crapanzano and their ‘sharedintersubjectivity’ profoundly affect both the informant’s recitation of his life history and theethnographer’s understanding as well as articulating their encounters.
In writing, the ethnographer is affirming an identity for himself by addressing an Other andreifying that Other. Then, we must ask to whom his text is addressed. Who is this other, whosestandpoint the ethnographer takes in his act of self-constitution?20For Crapanzano, the Other ofethnography is ‘a bifurcate other’.21It means that the ethnographer is addressing the doubleaudiences: the literate audience from his own cultural world and those illiterate Others on hisfieldwork. What makes his text even more ambiguous is the fact that it is ‘doubly edited duringthe encounter itself and during the literary (re)-encounter’ (8). Writing is, as I have discussed, anact of affirming one’s own self as well as the Other’s. Tuhami thus reveals much of the ambiguousnature of the ethnographer’s writing within his dialogic relationship with the Other(s) as well asin his internal dialogue with aspects of otherness within himself.
2. The Ambiguous Space in Ethnographic Writing
By beginning the Moroccan’s portrait with fragments from his recitation, Crapanzano raisesthe questions of the reality of personal history and the truth of autobiography because Tuhami’stale speaks a truth of the kind that can only be defined as autobiographical or metaphorical in theWestern sense:
It was Tuhami who first taught me to distinguish between the reality of personal history andthe truth of autobiography. The former rests on the presumption of a correspondence betweena text, or structure of words, and a body of human actions; the latter resides within the textitself without regard to any external criteria save, perhaps, the I of the narrator. (5)
Tuhami’s recitation collapses the Western sense of the real and the truth as objective existence.When he speaks ‘the truth’, the anthropologist tries to listen only for the real mistaken for thetrue: ‘The truth was for me the real masked by the metaphor. Such was my cultural bias’ (129-30).The reality of Tuhami’s personal history is metaphorical rather than real and his real personsserve a symbolic function within the allegory of his tale:
When he talks about people such as the pasha’s son, his wives, and his own mother and father,the Westerners will be tempted to accept them as “real,” as I did. He will not easily recognizethat for Tuhami, at least in his conversations with me, such “real” persons were metaphorical;they served, as did the demons, a symbolic interpretive function….Tuhami’s tale of the pasha’sson revealed to me the presumption of our collapsing the real and the truth. (22)
The subjects of Tuhami’s tale are different from those of Western tales. The essentialdifferences between them are not simply formal but culturally constructed. His relationship tosociety is reflected in the particular experience of his colonial world, in his thematic preoccupations in his tale as well as in the style and structure of his recitation. One of the mostcommon themes expressed in his tale is that of seduction by women or female demons. Thisseduction theme works as a metaphor for power and control:
Seduction by a woman leads to control, to enslavement, by a woman. “If Lalla ‘A’isha wants aman and if he refuses,” Tuhami told me once, “she will tie him up and then make him verythirsty.” This theme of enslavement by a woman―the inverse of the articulated standards of male-female relations, of sex and marriage―pervades Moroccan folklore. It is an even morecommon theme, so to speak, in Tuhami’s folklore. My notes are filled with stories of seductionsby jinniyyas, ghulat(female ghouls), and real women. Their names change―usually it is Lalla‘A’isha or one of her refractions―but the story remains the same….The theme of enslavementis also found in magical beliefs, tales of poisoning and witchcraft, and in the lore of sex andmarriage. (102)
Tuhami’s tale in dealing with the stories of seduction reflects the power relationships that derivefrom the entire social order of Moroccan society. The theme of seduction is a symbolic form ofdesire for control particularly for those who are bereft of power and control in society. BarbaraBabcock remarks that ‘what is socially peripheral is often symbolically central.’22If Tuhami’s taleis a verbal objectification of the tension between reality and desire, his stories of seductions andenslavement by the she-demons or real women are symbolically reversed forms of the socialreality in which women are located in its periphery. Other Moroccan men who also claim to bemarried to ‘A’isha Qandisha share with Tuhami the common features of peculiarity andinadequacy due to the fact that they are all her victims:
Tuhami was married to a capricious, vindictive, she-demon, a camel-footed jinniyya, aspirit,…who kept a firm control on his amorous life. His arrangement with ‘A’isha was rare, butby no means unique. (Other Moroccan men were said to be ‘A’isha’s husbands; they were allpeculiar in their way_loners, sexual inadequates, physical misfits, eccentrics, or men who forone social reason or another were unable to marry.) Lalla ‘A’isha, that is, “Lady”‘A’isha, asTuhami always called her, was a jealous lover and demanded absolute secrecy in her marita laffairs. (5)
Tuhami’s tale sexualises his relationship with the she-demon within the discourse of power and control. Sexualisation is an effective means of producing human subjects and regulatinghuman relationship because sexuality always has political implications of power and control. As inhis stories of seduction, Tuhami and other ‘A’isha’s husbands are placed in the subordinateposition in their sexual and marital relationships with the she-demon. Sexuality is a culturallycharged category with a variety of meanings, values and attitudes, and discourses of sexualityfunction as one form of defining relationships which may be governed by the assumptions thatcultures and societies have created around sexual difference as a way of determining sexual rolesand defining relationships between the sexes. Sexuality in Crapanzano’s portrait is used as a way of determining Tuhami’s relationship with the she-demon, ‘A’isha, within the site of control andpower. His inability on ‘A’isha and the power of the spirit fatalise his relationship with her.Tuhami and other ‘A’isha’s husbands who are under the firm control of the she-demon are placedin the periphery of Moroccan society disempowered in both their actual lives and their relationships with ‘A’isha’ Qandisha.
Crapanzano has done a substantial amount of pre-study about Moroccan society and culturebefore writing Tuhami. Rather than generalising experiences of Moroccan men or socialphenomena, he highlights, in the text, specific experiences of Tuhami who is not a typicalMoroccan but an anti-heroic figure. The theme of circumcision, for example, has a great symbolicimportance for the portrait of Tuhami because it is said to make a man and a Muslim of a boy. It isdelineated in the text as a symbol of manhood:
It [Circumcision] gives tone, emotional cathexis, to the experience of life―to sex, manhood,one’s mother and father, and, of course, to the figure of the stranger, the barber, who,according to Tuhami, possesses great magic and the knowledge of many cures. In Morocco,circumcision is a precocious ritual (Crapanzano 1980).23(51)
Charged with Western cultural assumptions and knowledge and given a variety ofrepresentational modes in its ‘realism’, Crapanzano’s account of Tuhami’s circumcisiondemonstrates Bakhtin’s notions of ‘dialogism’ and ‘heteroglossia’. The story presents multiplevisions and perspectives through the ethnographer’s narrative voice. They are also juxtaposedwith ethnographer’s anthropological comments. Tuhami does not remember his owncircumcision.
There is, therefore, much space for the writer to re-construct the picture ofTuhami’s experience of circumcision:The circumcision was obviously painful….Tuhami was dressed in his best clothes―a newwhite jallaba. His mother had bathed him carefully. He was put on a horse and led through thevillage….Tuhami was the center of attention. It was his day. He had no idea what was going tohappen (as Moroccans who remembered their own circumcisions stereotypically reported tome)….His father disappeared. His mother led him through the crowd of relatives, friends,neighbors…past the young girls, still virgin, who had let down their long black hair (acircumcision was the only time they could ever do this in public)….He was led into a smallroom….Tuhami’s chemise was pulled up to his navel. He was told to look up at the birds. Thebarber deftly put a bit of manure between Tuhami’s glans―the head, he called it―and hisforeskin and with a single movement cut off the foreskin….His desires―and the Freudianswould have much to say about the oedipal implications of this―are stymied. His manhood isdeclared by the act of mutilating―destroying―the very proof of his manhood. (49-51)
The circumcision scene is narrated by Crapanzano with much dramatization in the past tense,and, therefore, it sounds as if it were really happening. He also gives Tuhami’s spontaneousresponses during his recitation as well as his own ethnographic commentaries on the spot that depict a lively picture of Tuhami and of himself. The reader is required, however, to operatedouble perspectives to distinguish the ‘reality’ of Tuhami’s experience from the fictionality of theethnographer’s accounts. He reconstructs Tuhami’s circumcision ritual based on hisanthropological experience of observing the rituals, other Moroccan men’s subjective as well as‘stereotypical’ accounts of circumcision, and, most importantly, Tuhami’s own conceptualizationof the ritual. Crapanzano gives some kind of autonomy to Tuhami’s discourse and respectsTuhami’s conceptualization of experience and of his world. There is, however, some ambiguity inthe picture of Tuhami’s circumcision ritual because it is not simply a reconstruction byCrapanzano himself but a kind of collaborative work by the ethnographer and his informant.
Crapanzano’s fundamental assumption about the life history is that ‘it is an immediateresponse to a demand posed by an Other and carries within it the expectations of that Other’ (8).The Other for Tuhami is in some way an empty space of desire to be fulfilled. His tale reflects hisdesire for recognition by an indeterminate symbolic Other, and it is a demand for recognition bythat Other which includes not simply the concrete individual like the anthropologist who standsbefore him but all that he stands for symbolically:
He did not in fact want me or anyone else. That would have been too immediate, tooburdensome, too demanding for him. What he wanted, I have come to believe, was rather theimaginary fulfillment of emptiness, a lack, a manque-à-être, to use Jacques Lacan’s (1966)24phrase, that he suffered. I became, I imagine, an articulatory pivot about which he could spinout his fantasies in order to create himself as he desired. Tuhami wanted fulfillment throughthe metaphor without denying the essentially irreal quality of the metaphor. (140)
As it is well demonstrated in the reconstruction of Tuhami’s circumcision ritual and his stories ofseduction, his recitation is a product of intersubjective reality negotiated between Tuhami himselfand his symbolic Other, the ethnographer or those that he stands for symbolically. Tuhamiresponds to the demand and expectations posed by the ethnographer in the name of sciencewhich he does not understand. He also integrates his desires into the ‘real stories’ whichculturally construct the Moroccan values and social symbols. Tuhami’s tale thus can be locatedmidway between the fairytale and history because it is concerned with reality that is a ‘blend ofthe imaginary and the real,’ or ‘the infusion of desire into reality’ (7). His tale as a form of personalhistory does not make the clear distinction between the imaginary (the product of desire) and thereal (as objective existence) but it objectifies the tension between the real and the imaginary,which requires interpretations of its symbolic meanings. Tuhamithus registers much ofambiguous space in terms of its metaphorical and, at the same time, intersubjectiverepresentations of the real as well as its symbolic subjects which constitute a hermeneutic realityof the life history
.3. The Field Assistant and the Limbo of Interchange
Another dynamics and ambiguity emerge from the fact that the interview situation is not a two-way interaction between the anthropologist and his informant but actually a kind of tripartiteprocess intermediated by a field assistant, Lhacen, as in many cases of anthropological fieldwork.This triadic relationship is another element that suggests some limbo of their interchange andanother ambiguity in the production of Tuhami. Crapanzano is writing as if he ignored Lhacen’spresence. There is no indication of Lhacen’s intermediation in presenting their dialogues.Crapanzano is, however, certainly aware of the significance of Lhacen’s presence and of his roleas an intermediary in his dialogue with Tuhami:
In my field work I have worked both alone and with a field assistant. I have found that there is aqualitative difference in the material obtained in the two situations…the material I collectedwith a field assistant…had intimacy of tone and detail that I did not obtain when I workedalone…We could not go on without him, but in our diverse ways we bracketed him off….Hewas, for Tuhami and me, the Third, who rendered us, in Sartre’s (1964)25words, an us-object.(144-48)
The presence of the field assistant thus calls our attention to the role of an assistant or aninterpreter in the situation of anthropological interviews. The presence of this third person likelyaffects the dual and essentially conflicting relationship between the American anthropologist andhis Moroccan informant and hence the result of the fieldwork:
He [Lhacen] did recognize―and was puzzled by―Tuhami’s peculiar character. The two of usdiscussed it at great length, and I am indebted to Lhacen for much of what I have to say aboutTuhami. (12)
What Crapanzano calls ‘our discoveries’ is often filtered through his assistant’s conceptions andinterpretations. Thus, the portrait of Tuhami is rendered through the complex interactive andintersubjective processes of dialogues between Crapanzano, Tuhami and Lhacen and there areprofoundly interpretive elements in their communication as well as in their representation ofTuhami’s tale, the elements which constitute an even more hermeneutic reality of the life history.
Lhacen’s presence as a field assistant is a complex one because he is not a member ofTuhami’s community in Meknes, a Moroccan town, but a Berber, a different tribe from Tuhami’s.He is, therefore, an outsider like the ethnographer himself who plays, in the dialectical process oftheir communication, the symbolic role of the Other who facilitates Tuhami’s recitation. As I havediscussed earlier, Tuhami’s tale is a product of intersubjective reality negotiated between himselfand his symbolic Other, the ethnographer. Tuhami responds immediately to the demand andexpectations posed by this symbolic Other in the context of anthropological fieldwork. In theactual interview situations, however, questions, demands and expectations are mediated throughthe third person who is an outsider for both the interviewer and the interviewee. Lhacen is thusassigned another symbolic role as an outsider.
While both Crapanzano and Lhacen are outsiders for Tuhami, they are not totally strangersto him. This ambivalence in their positions renders both lucidity and ambiguity in their interpretations and representation of Tuhami’s recitation. They share, in their relationship withTuhami, common features as outsiders, the ‘unity of nearness and remoteness’ (144) inCrapanzano’s terms. They are both strangers to Meknes, to Tuhami and to each other, but theyare both interested in Tuhami and the Hamadsha and fascinated by Tuhami as a person and by his great knowledge of the brotherhood, she-demons, and other cultural phenomena in Morocco;they also share a kind of objectivity or detachment in their early relationship with Tuhami, whichis rationalised by science for Crapanzano and by the job as an assistant for Lhacen. Thus, whilethey are strangers to the informants they work with, they are not totally strangers to them. Thisambivalent neutrality in their positions permits them a more direct entry into the world of theMoroccans, because they are free from the common defensive representation by inside membersof any group against the total outsiders: ‘These representations [by insiders] frequently becomethe stuff of superficial ethnographic description and bolster the stranger’s stereotypic view of analien people.’ (147). Nonetheless, this claimed lucidity need closer attention.
Lhacen’s role as a field assistant is diverse, and the relationship between Crapanzano,Tuhami and Lhacen change with time through the course of the research. It was Lhacen who firstdiscovered Tuhami and introduced him to Crapanzano, which affirmed the anthropologist’sdependency on his assistant. Lhacen later becomes a protector for Crapanzano who at times takes refuge in his presence:
There were times when my relations with Tuhami specifically or with Morocco and theHamadsha more generally…were such that I could not permit myself any response but themost distant. It was at such times that I took refuge in my difficulties with Arabic and exploited,I suppose, the presence of Lhacen. (139)
While Lhacen at times plays as a protective shield for both Crapanzano and Tuhami, he alsoneeds to restrain Crapanzano’s ethnographic passion: (Lhacen frequently corrected my hastewith his sure sense of tact and his indomitable patience; he too was excited by our discoveries)(141). While he is an active participant as an interpreter-observer, he, at the same time, has anability to efface himself. As a controller of the word, Lhacen comes to embody the transcendentalOther who occupies ‘the place of God―in Sartre’s terms, the place of the unrealized Third’ (150-51) who makes intersubjective communication possible between the anthropologist and hisinformants. There is also a fundamental instability in this triadic relationship in which ‘there is aconstant shifting of alliances and objectifying gazes’ (149). After the first meetings, the instabilityin their triadic relationship ‘tended to be subsumed under an intentionally validated, an ad hocconventional frame’ (149) within which he establishes a frame of a spokesman, representing ‘theconstancy of the frame’ of anthropological fieldwork, and he is able to mediate the essentiallyconflict nature of the dual relationship between the anthropologist and his informant:
The meetings were between Tuhami and me. Lhacen was a kind of spokesman for one andthen the other of us; that is, he was identified seriatim with each one of us as we addressed the other.
Lhacen thus plays a key role to govern or stabilize the dialectical relationship between theanthropologist and his informant.
Crapanzano and Lhacen thus gradually establish a kind of rapport which is well representedin the ‘we’-relationship between them: ‘We were fascinated and pleased with the constantdeepening of our awareness of Morocco that came through Tuhami and many of my otherinformants’ (141); ‘We shared a common intention: to learn as much as we could about theHamadsha and about the people, like Tuhami, around them’ (144); ‘We had rehearsed, so tospeak, “our” research’ (145). The field research thus becomes another intersubjective processbetween the anthropologist and the field assistant who share common awareness, intentions,fascinations, pleasures and, most importantly, common discoveries.
However, this interactive relationship between the anthropologist and his field assistantdoes not necessarily mean that there are correlative experiences between them. WhatCrapanzano writes about his informant’s and his assistant’s subjective experiences is ratherhypothetical.26Throughout their interchange, there is in no way a shared experience within them,in a strict sense, but there is only an intersubjective collaboration and a complex negotiation of‘reality’ between them. It means that their discoveries are ‘their’ negotiated reality of Tuhami’s lifehistory. Lhacen thus plays out his symbolic role as an Other for both Crapanzano and Tuhami inmediating the ambivalent relationship between them in their ethnographic encounter.
Tuhami: Portrait of a Moroccanis a challenge to analytical and descriptive forms ofethnographic writing. One of the ethnographer’s challenging strategies is his attempt to presentthe dynamics of dialogue in anthropological interviews. Crapanzano presents some explicitness ofhis presence as an interlocutor and the dialectics of his and his informant’s discourses. Given thepsychological aspect of their communicative interaction, the relationship between theanthropologist and his informant can be defined as mutual transference and the reciprocalcreation of roles in the dynamics of the interviews. This interpersonal relationship can also bereferred to as a colonial dialectic as in the colonial context of Moroccan society because theirrelationship is always described within the framework of power relations in which theanthropologist is given the paternalistic roles of psychiatrist and healer and Tuhami thesubordinate positions of patient and victim.
There is, however, some ambiguity in this ethnographic situation because both Tuhami andCrapanzano play mutually created roles and negotiate ‘reality’ of Tuhami’s life history throughtheir communicative interchange. Since there is no direct access to the world in which Tuhamiinhabits, Crapanzano fills the ambiguous space with his dialogic narrative method with much ofTuhami’s conceptualisation of his experiences as well as his own explications of his recitation.There are, however, some other elements in Tuhamiwhich render much ambiguous space withinthe text. The element of retrospection in ethnographic writing gives the ethnographer’s memorymore elegiac or fanciful images and his narrative more fictionality. The question of the role of thefield assistant or the element of the third person also creates crucial ambiguity in Crapanzano’s definition of Otherness within the triadic relationship between the anthropologist, his informantand the field assistant and the intersubjective reality negotiated and constituted through theirdialogues. While the portrait of Tuhami thus represents essential dynamics of anthropologicalinterviews, it also demonstrates much ambiguity in the ethnographic situation and in theethnographic construction and representation of other cultures.
Notes1Barbara Tedlock, ‘From Participant Observation to the Observation of Participation: The Emergence ofNarrative Ethnography.’Journal of Anthropological Research, 47, 1991, p.70. 2Vincent Crapanzano, ‘The Life History in Anthropological Field Work.’Anthropology and HumanismQuarterly, 2, 1977b, p.6.3Crapanzano, Hermes’Dilemma and Hamlet’s Desire: On the Epistemology of Interpretation. Cambridge,Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press, 1992, p.45.4Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973.5Crapanzano, 1992, p.45.6Ibid., p.68.7Geertz, Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press,1988; Reprinted in Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989, p.23.8Ibid., pp.4-5.9Tedlock, p.69.10Bakhtin’s concept of ‘dialogism’ was first presented in his Problems of Dostoevsky’s Art(first published,1963) and well explored in The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays(1992; first published, 1981). Bakhtinprovides stylistic analyses of characters’ utterances and reveals various ways of transmitting meanings andof framing contexts.11Bakhtin, p.262; 292.12Crapanzano, ‘Communications: On the Writing of Ethnography.’Dialectical Anthropology, 2, 1977a, pp.5-6.13Michael M. J. Fischer, ‘Ethnicity and the Post-Modern Arts of Memory.’Writing Culture: The Poetics andPolitics of Ethnography, edited by James Clifford and George E. Marcus, Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress, 1986, p.208.14Ibid.15George E. Marcus, ‘Contemporary Problems of Ethnography in the Modern World System.’WritingCulture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, edited by James Clifford and George E. Marcus, Berkeley:University of California Press, 1986, p.190.16Ibid., p.192.17James Clifford, The Predicament of Cutlure: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art.Camgridge, Massachusetts, and London: Harvard University Press, 1988, p.23.18Crapanzano, 1977a, p.69.19Ibid., p.72.20Ibid.21Ibid.Ritsumeikan Social Sciences Review（Vol 40. No.4）16 22Barbara A. Babcock, The Reversible World: Symbolic Inversion in Art and Society, Ithaca & London:Cornell University Press, 1978, p.32.23About Crapanzano’s research on circumcision in Morocco, see ‘Rite of Return: Circumcision inMorocco’, 1980b.24 Jacques Lacan, Ecrits, Paris: Seuil, 1966.25 Jean-Paul Sartre, Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr, translated by Bernard Frechtman. New York: Mentor,1964, 418.26About hypothetical nature of Crapanzano’s statement about their subjective experiences, seeCrapanzano, 1980a, p.148.Works CitedBabcock, Barbara A (1978). The Reversible World: Symbolic Inversion in Art and Society. Ithaca & London:Cornell University Press.Bakhtin, Mikhail (1992). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, edited by Michael Holquist, translated byCaryl Emerson and Michael Holquist, Austin: University of Texas Press. First published, 1981.Clifford, James (1988). The Predicament of Cutlure: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art.Camgridge, Massachusetts, and London: Harvard University Press.Crapanzano, Vincent (1977a). ‘Communications: On the Writing of Ethnography.’Dialectical Anthropology, 2,69-73.―(1977b). ‘The Life History in Anthropological Field Work.’Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly, 2, 3-7.―(1980a). Tuhami: Portrait of a Moroccan. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.―(1980b). ‘Rite of Return: Circumcision in Morocco.’The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, 6.―(1992). Hermes’ Dilemma and Hamlet’s Desire: On the Epistemology of Interpretation. Cambridge,Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press.Fischer, Michael M. J. (1986). ‘Ethnicity and the Post-Modern Arts of Memory.’Writing Culture: The Poeticsand Politics of Ethnography, edited by James Clifford and George E. Marcus, Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 194-233.Geertz, Clifford (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.―(1989). Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author. Cambridge: Polity Press. First published,Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1988.Lacan, Jacques (1966). Ecrits. Paris: Seuil.Marcus, George E. (1986). ‘Contemporary Problems of Ethnography in the Modern World System.’WritingCulture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, edited by James Clifford and George E. Marcus,Berkeley: University of California Press, 165-193.Sartre, Jean-Paul (1964). Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr, translated by Bernard Frechtman, New York:Mentor.Tedlock, Barbara (1991). ‘From Participant Observation to the Observation of Participation: The Emergenceof Narrative Ethnography.’Journal of Anthropological Research, 47, 69-94