How Events Create Ventures and Ventures Create Entrepreneurs
Chapter 2: Anthropology and Experience
[E]very experience has something of an adventure about it. An adventure interrupts the customary course of events, but is positively and significantly related to the context which it interrupts. Thus an adventure lets life be felt of as a whole, in its breadth and in its strength. It ventures out into the uncertain. (Hans-Georg Gadamer, 1988) INTRODUCTION When William James, nineteenth-century philosopher and psychologist, set out to describe the nature of human consciousness and experience, he compared it to a stream, gushing continually forward, its flow influenced and nudged by the ripples, silt, and currents of past experiences (James, 1890). Just like the water of James’s stream, the concept of human experience has permeated every aspect of anthropology theory and research. Anthropology is the study of humanness through the careful observation of actual behavior. Human experience is the basis for these studies because experiences give rise to consciousness, which is the essence of humanness (Turner, 1985). Consciousness “is the awareness of being aware of having experience” (Brereton, 2009, p. 8). Experience itself has been subject to ebbs and flows within anthropology, finding favor at the end of the nineteenth century in works of William Dilthey, William James, and John Dewey (Throop, 2003a) and again at the end of the twentieth century, culminating in the publication of The Anthropology of Experience (Turner and Bruner, 1986). Most recent scholarship has attempted to codify experience as a concept, which, though pervasive within the anthropology discipline, has remained largely ephemeral and undefined (Brereton,...
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