Rolf Lindner

Spür-Sinn. Oder: Die Rückgewinnung der „Andacht zum Unbedeutenden“


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The “devotion to the insignificant” is a genuinely ethnological approach to lifeworld phenomena. That this approach has become less an object of methodological reflection than of silent derision is undoubtedly due to the notion of “devotion”, which implies a solemn component that contradicts the prosaic scientific discourse. If we recall, however, that “devotion” means attentio, attention, the spiritual dedication to and immersion in a subject, it becomes apparent how close the devotion to the insignificant is to the art of attention, as both the evidential paradigm (Ginzburg) as well as the serendipity pattern (Merton) recognize. Starting from reflections on the art of attention and the meaning of peripatetic activities the author shows exemplarily that the securing of evidence, ie the tracking down of an object, has to be accompanied by sense-itivity, ie a feeling for the subjective sense. Especially here the “devotion to the insignificant” deploys its epistemic force.
Keywords: paradigm of sign-reading, Carlo Ginzburg, serendipity, Robert K. Merton, sagacity, Aby Warburg, Devotion to the Insignificant