“[There was] something real outside herself, which spoke to her kindly an yet in sovereign tones, something superior and good whose presence destroyed the dreary trance-like solipsism of her earlier mood. When the world had seemed to be subjective it had seemed to be without interest or value. But now there was something else in it after all.” Iris Murdock, The Bell, p. 190.
In the 1980s, after a long affair with objectivity, anthropologists, disappointed with the relationship, fell in love with subjectivity, celebrating it, and revelling in it. And yet, after three decades, our fascination with our own belly buttons has waned. We look at each other, and say, “what now?” Indeed: what now?
Have we shifted toward a post-subjective anthropology? Do we have new answers, or at least answers, to the claims of subjectivity? Are we able to address something beyond ourselves? Can we now move on? And, if so, what would post-subjective anthropology look like?