Chapter

The Obligation to Receive: The Countertransference, the Ethnographer, Protestants, and Proselytization in North India

Leo Coleman

in Being There

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257757
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943438 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257757.003.0005
The Obligation to Receive: The Countertransference, the Ethnographer, Protestants, and Proselytization in North India

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The practice of social and cultural anthropology has long been rooted in an attempt to account for persons and social forms on the basis of extended and extraordinarily intimate encounters. This chapter suggests an exchange between one view of the countertransference in psychoanalytic work and anthropological theories of the gift, in pursuit of a heightened awareness of the unreciprocal emotional exchanges in which the ethnographer must engage in order to learn something. It draws the specific notion of countertransference from the work of D. W. Winnicott, where it encompasses the analyst's emotional responses to the patient and what within the analysis can be done with them. Finally, it presents an ethnographic case of negative countertransference, and tailors the psychoanalytic materials for ethnography by integrating anthropological understandings of reciprocity and obligation into the existing psychoanalytical framework.

Keywords: anthropology; countertransference; psychoanalytic work; ethnographer; psychoanalytical framework

Chapter.  14307 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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