Social Reality Vs. Material Reality In The Small Chapel In Goodenough College

760 Words 4 Pages
In many instances, an observation of a clearly defined place of study with the purpose of understanding what is going on there may seem quite simplistic in its nature and practice. Such unintelligent assumptions, however, may not always be definitive. Characteristically, an ethnographic reconnaissance in the small chapel in Goodenough College can be as complex as studying exotic communities in Amazon of Brazil or primitive ways of life in rural areas of Western Africa. This short essay aims to shed light on the multifaceted interplay of ‘social reality’ vs ‘material reality’ vs ‘space’ in the small chapel in Goodenough College based on my own exploration. The emphasis of the essay is mainly on descriptive analysis rather than presenting a narrow …show more content…
I melted into a sanctuary with translucent curtains, narrow windows that I enjoyed soft winter afternoon light through and smile of boisterous users of the chapel that I dare to nickname as a little Middle East. Above all, I was exposed to a glimpse of the mysterious complexity of embracing ethnographic field work. Michael Polanyi in the book entitled The tacit dimension emphasises that “we can know more than we can tell” (Polanyi, 1967:4). I found this notion of veiled awareness remarkably inalienable. Thinking of my own experience, I have been confronted by numerous interrelated questions that come into my mind. What perceptions of ‘supernatural imagination’ do all the performers of the three monotheistic religious practices have? How are the soul and body related to the place? Is there any relationship among the somehow different socio-cultural and religious practices? The words like al-isha also suggest time frame. An accurate and detailed analysis of the interplay of space, body, mind and soul may produce a vivid account of the activities that happen in the specific place and time. Admittedly, what such convolution of observing particular phenomenon with the purpose of ethnographic exploration illustrates is that one cannot simply subscribe to pre-existing knowledge; and nor can anyone be proud of delving enough into the realities of what it takes to triumph an ethnographic

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