A Philosopher (1630-32). J. de Ribera.
Currently the obscurantist interpretations of phenomenology are being applied within the fields of anthropology and archaeology to the detriment of those fields of study.
[See: Cultural Materialism. Harris, M . (1969). Random House.].
Obscurantists deny the applicability of scientific research to the study of social and cultural phenomena. One such trend is phenomenology. Phenomenology is a neo-Kantian philosophy founded and propounded by Edmund Husserl.He proposed that ordinary natural science cannot be applied to social and cultural life. This is because social acts supposedly involve a property not present in other sectors of the universe, namely – the property of meaning.
According to Husserl meaning can only be understood subjectively. Accordingly in order to understand social acts one must understand what they mean as a subjective “lived experience”. The phenomenology of Husserl lays the foundation for cognitivist obscurantists strategies. Such strategies appear in ethnomethodology and as symbolic interactionism.
The primary mission of such neo-Kantian philosophy is to find out, in a Franz Boasian sense, how natives think. Therefore considerations that are etic and emic. Emic is where the native informant is the ultimate judge and etic where the observers are the ultimate judges. Phenomenologists deny that etic behaviour streams are worth studying.
Obviously phenomenology is in conflict with cultural materialism. It follows that phenomenological idealism, which deals only with emic phenomena, denies the existence of causes. Phenomenology thus confines all social and cultural events to motivations and immediate experiences and a consensus that is communal.
Phenomenology leads eventually to the denial of all existence of sociocultural systems and the universal components – e.g., infrastructure, structure, and superstructure. Therefore processes and phenomena, such as class, powers, capitalism, and socialism, have no existence.
Therefore – processes such as evolution, adaptation, and exploitation are also unreal. It follows that, for phenomenologists, the only social reality worth talking about is the everyday lived experience in which individuals encounter one another and interact.