Non siamo mai stati coevi. Per una storicizzazione della soggettività intraspecifica dell’ontological turn

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.11094012

 Giulia Marotta 

 Università di Bologna (; ORCID: 0009-0006- 5356-5592).


We Have Never Been Contemporary: For a Historicization of the Intraspecific Subjectivity of the Ontological Turn 

Abstract: Analysing the ontological turn’s fundamentals, this paper aims at highlighting inherent contradictions within this theoretical framework, particularly concerning the denial of coevity between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, imposed by Viveiros de Castro. The Brazilian anthropologist advocates for a methodological revolution in ethnography, achievable through the metamorphosis across different prospectives-ontologies: only by fully embodying the Other, entering their worlds and destroying our own initial subjectivity – and thus history – a valid and considerable ethnography is possible. The aim is to underscore the importance of historicization amongst the anthropological discourse, diverging from Viveiros’ metamorphosis to understand the Other, which precludes the potential comprehension between concurrently existing subjects. Indeed, according to the ontological turn’s theory – echoing the Latours’ We have never been modern we have never been contemporary. Rejecting essentialized cultural-ontological viewpoints, this paper proposes a creative translation as opposed to metamorphosis: based on the metaphor and on the co-production characterizing the ethnographic encounter, this translation accommodates abduction. Ernesto de Martino’s theories will be fundamental for the exhortation to historicization, as he advocated for an auto-reflexive approach to elucidate the historical contexts that engender particular power dynamics already in the early 20th century. The question which springs to mind is: how does a political aim – and therefore historical – as the Viveiros de Castros’ one, can be achieved by throwing the subject out of history? 
Keywords: Ontological turn; Viveiros de Castro; Ernesto De Martino; Historicization; Ethnography. 

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