Reflexivity in anthropological discourse analysis

  • Maja Nazaruk Université de Montréal
Keywords: anthropology, reflexivity, fieldwork, Malinowski


To discuss reflexivity in anthropology is not a new approach. The purpose of this article is to examine the meaning of reflexivity for the hermeneutical or confessional anthropology, which has been endemic in social sciences ever since the publication of Malinowski’s diaries and the onset of the recurrent and persistent crisis of objectivity that haunts modern scholarship. We have determined that anthropology is no longer a one-sided, self-centred, objective science. Today anthropology is interpreted for its subjectivity and its multiple faces that create a mosaic reflection of the anthropologist and the researcher. This article aims not to be innovative, for it is far from accomplishing such a task. This article, however, discusses the coherence of a discourse that emanates from contested narratives about the self. It responds to what some call the reflexive turn in anthropology – a homology between defamiliarisation and literary exposition, which undermines the fictionality (or the falsehood) of anthropological writing, in the sense that each reflexive critique is in its own right an autonomous interpretation, blurring the lines between the true and the imaginary (understood from Latin as a sort of plastic modelling, self-construction). Reflexivity is all: a turn into the deeper self, which denudes, and a hypothesis into the construction of meaning.