Social opacity and the dynamics of empathic in-sight among the tzotzil maya of Chiapas, Mexico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this article, I explore local constructions of empathic access and social knowing among the highland Maya of San Juan Chamula. I argue that a pervasive sense of social opacity-a presumed inability to accurately know the motivations, potencies, and identities of social others-gives rise to a moral-interpretive dilemma centering on the degree of concordance between the publicly presented self and the subjective or "private" self. I introduce the phrase "empathic in-sight" to refer to those processes-both real and fantasy based-intended to produce an understanding of the inner states of others (in terms of underlying emotions, feelings, motivations, thoughts, and desires), thereby restoring a degree of transparency to everyday social interactions. The phrase is meant to suggest a dynamic and active process of "seeing within," through which one attempts to gain access to, and understanding of, otherwise occluded conative and cognitive states-particularly those dimensions of the self that are actively hidden from view.

LanguageEnglish
Pages427-448
Number of pages22
JournalEthos
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Mexico
transparency
emotion
interaction
Opacity
Maya
Chiapas
Emotion
Transparency
Concordance
Fantasy
Cognitive State
Social Interaction
Highlands
Potency

Cite this

@article{7b04f72366af42cf9985f6ae634e7743,
title = "Social opacity and the dynamics of empathic in-sight among the tzotzil maya of Chiapas, Mexico",
abstract = "In this article, I explore local constructions of empathic access and social knowing among the highland Maya of San Juan Chamula. I argue that a pervasive sense of social opacity-a presumed inability to accurately know the motivations, potencies, and identities of social others-gives rise to a moral-interpretive dilemma centering on the degree of concordance between the publicly presented self and the subjective or {"}private{"} self. I introduce the phrase {"}empathic in-sight{"} to refer to those processes-both real and fantasy based-intended to produce an understanding of the inner states of others (in terms of underlying emotions, feelings, motivations, thoughts, and desires), thereby restoring a degree of transparency to everyday social interactions. The phrase is meant to suggest a dynamic and active process of {"}seeing within,{"} through which one attempts to gain access to, and understanding of, otherwise occluded conative and cognitive states-particularly those dimensions of the self that are actively hidden from view.",
author = "Groark, {Kevin P.}",
year = "2008",
doi = "10.1111/j.1548-1352.2008.00025.x",
language = "English",
volume = "36",
pages = "427--448",
journal = "Ethos",
issn = "0091-2131",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley",
number = "4",

}

Social opacity and the dynamics of empathic in-sight among the tzotzil maya of Chiapas, Mexico. / Groark, Kevin P.

In: Ethos, Vol. 36, No. 4, 2008, p. 427-448.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Social opacity and the dynamics of empathic in-sight among the tzotzil maya of Chiapas, Mexico

AU - Groark, Kevin P.

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - In this article, I explore local constructions of empathic access and social knowing among the highland Maya of San Juan Chamula. I argue that a pervasive sense of social opacity-a presumed inability to accurately know the motivations, potencies, and identities of social others-gives rise to a moral-interpretive dilemma centering on the degree of concordance between the publicly presented self and the subjective or "private" self. I introduce the phrase "empathic in-sight" to refer to those processes-both real and fantasy based-intended to produce an understanding of the inner states of others (in terms of underlying emotions, feelings, motivations, thoughts, and desires), thereby restoring a degree of transparency to everyday social interactions. The phrase is meant to suggest a dynamic and active process of "seeing within," through which one attempts to gain access to, and understanding of, otherwise occluded conative and cognitive states-particularly those dimensions of the self that are actively hidden from view.

AB - In this article, I explore local constructions of empathic access and social knowing among the highland Maya of San Juan Chamula. I argue that a pervasive sense of social opacity-a presumed inability to accurately know the motivations, potencies, and identities of social others-gives rise to a moral-interpretive dilemma centering on the degree of concordance between the publicly presented self and the subjective or "private" self. I introduce the phrase "empathic in-sight" to refer to those processes-both real and fantasy based-intended to produce an understanding of the inner states of others (in terms of underlying emotions, feelings, motivations, thoughts, and desires), thereby restoring a degree of transparency to everyday social interactions. The phrase is meant to suggest a dynamic and active process of "seeing within," through which one attempts to gain access to, and understanding of, otherwise occluded conative and cognitive states-particularly those dimensions of the self that are actively hidden from view.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=57749198820&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1548-1352.2008.00025.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1548-1352.2008.00025.x

M3 - Article

VL - 36

SP - 427

EP - 448

JO - Ethos

T2 - Ethos

JF - Ethos

SN - 0091-2131

IS - 4

ER -