Beyond the Featureless in Social Theory: Text-Play and Epistemology

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121024

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: textuality, episteme, split signifier, transference, bracketing, cartesian anxiety, suspended denotation, intentionality, metaphor, map/territory.


Experience of social facts are inherently underscored by literature, which actualizes data from the field, providing a virtual bridge for self-projection into the undefined. Written strategies are the spinal chord that allows the grafting of theories. Epistemology, in other words, is the result of weaving alphabets and cultural codes. Wolfgang Iser’s concept of text-play stands out here in light of the transcription of the immersive experience of being ‘there’ to create new psycho-dynamic theatres in the ‘here’ – as dictated by displacement-based anthro approaches to social fact (Geertz, 1988). Acted out in a self-unfolding that defies conceptuality, text-play takes on a life of its own insofar as it is the field’s derivative and transplant. By connecting literary materialism with the imaginary and the plastic, this bounce-back mechanism forms the flickering shadows behind the construction of knowledge, coagulates the bricks of the Atlantic pyramid, indiscriminately projects the poietic hook to the indicible. Embedded in its nocciolo, the strategy of the as if links social theory back to its subject, cuts out structuralism. Text-play marks the birth of the epistemological performative. For an anthropomorphic substantiation, I balance the key epistemological threads necessary for the architecture of anthro discourse – humanist construction, par excellence, of infinite story-telling: sapienza (la) of man about man. This article is a sequel to my take on the theory of interpretation published amid the colloquia of this journal in 2014. Integrating text-play function benefits an honest self-appraisal of the way the anthropologist films back.

Nazaruk, M.

Literary Anthropologist, Université de Montréal,
3015 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, H3Z 1A1.

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