Loewen, Gregory V. Books
G.V. Loewen earned his Ph.D. in sociology and anthropology from the University of British Columbia in 1997. He is currently a professor of sociology at St. Thomas More College, The University of Saskatchewan.2010 0-7734-1308-1
This interdisciplinary anthology examines the relation between fieldwork, knowledge, values and regional identities from a wide range of angles and perspectives. It contains 12 essays that discuss and develop understandings of the relationship between metaphysics and ethics.
Why do people, in our modern age of rationality, science, and materialism, commence the formation and celebration of the irrational, the unscientific, and the immaterial? What anxieties drive us to escape the cold light of the empirical? What desires are left unfulfilled by the premises and promises of technocracy and market capital? What beliefs are unbelievable, and what do we wish to avoid remembering at the cost of forgetting the history of ourselves? This book explores these questions with a combination of analyses of structures which impose themselves upon our thinking and create for us templates of prejudice and spaces of judgment, and a variety of qualitative case studies taken from many of the somewhat occlusive and tricky fjords of human experience.2012 0-7734-3929-3
Loewen looks at the ways art can preserve the self as an archived project. Does art reflect personal growth and can one’s view on it change over time? Why do people identify with particular works of art and not others? The pertinent question in this book is how art reflects the personal identity of its creator and how responses to works of art can divulge information about the audience as well. Art can also serve to memorialize the changes that the self goes through while living. He also argues that artistic expression provides a forum for our truest selves to become represented.2009 0-7734-4782-2
The study of religion is at once a taking stock of the historical consciousness of the texts that define the object, here, those of James, Weber, Heidegger, Durkheim, and others, while at the same time making meaning anew, which for history had been but tacit or perhaps unknown. Such a study accomplishes the renewal of both the most profound dialogue as it takes place within human history by representing the fundamental insights from an age which affirmed its triumph over religion, as well as aiding the realization that this event is in fact achieved only by the recognition that the idea of the sacred is the source of dialogue itself.2005 0-7734-6238-4
This book is a study in the sociology of knowledge. Specifically, a study of how anthropologists over the previous forty years have constructed anthropological knowledge. Interpretation of this material takes place within the discourses of the anthropology of knowledge and education.
Anthropologists say that ways of thinking about anthropological knowledge conflict at the theoretical level but do not conflict in practice. Practice is defined as fieldwork and teaching. here, theory is felt only indirectly. Various tensions follow from this understanding. They include those between subject and object, positivism and post-positivism, value and validity, field and archive, and cultural relativism versus scientific knowledge.
The concept which mediates these tensions is that of the field. Fieldwork is seen by anthropologists as an experience with both epistemological and ethical implications. Ethically, the field supports a certain manner of living and outlook on humanity. Yet, epistemologically, the field is divisive because it is cast as the promotional agent for various kinds of method, theory, and reflective analyses. These analyses include a belief in value relativism in concert with a scientific notion of validity. For example, if it were not for the fundamental tools of positivism in anthropology, anthropologists felt that anthropological knowledge might be seen as idiosyncratic. In their search for human knowledge, anthropologists are united by their methods and ethics. They are divided, however, by their theories. These divisions and unities are inherited in the culture of anthropology. Although anthropologists understand different cultures’ values to be equal, they suggest that ways of knowing another culture through anthropology are not equally valid.
Theoretical conflicts are also produced in institutions. These are seen as major influences on the ‘look’ of anthropology at various times and places. Departments, publishers, students and teachers are all influences on anthropological knowledge construction.
Anthropological knowledge is also seen as being constructed at a personal level. Anthropologists felt that the concept of vocation in the individual’s life-narrative as an anthropologist is important to this construction. Anthropology is seen as a calling or assignation. As well, the purpose of anthropological knowledge is seen as an ethical precept. The sanctity of field experiences for these anthropologists brings them together ethically but divides them epistemologically.