ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Serbet-Sensorium

A Sociological Methodology in Phanishwar Nath Renu’s Parti Parikatha

Known to be a modern litterateur, nonetheless, Phanishwar Nath Renu’s (1921–77) oeuvre presents a curious case due to its continuity with regional folklore. A sense of creative ambivalence about the binaries of modernity and tradition, objectivity and subjectivity gets reflected in the literary style and methodological reflexivity of Renu. Construing Renu thus becomes an interpretative engagement that unfolds a totality of sensorium, which the poet Nagarjuna wittily deemed to be a veritable serbet. In that wake, this paper unravels an ontological terrain in Renu’s works in order to bring to the fore a hermeneutics of sound sensorium conducive to methodological progression in sociology, challenging the prevalent ways of seeing in social sciences and humanities in India.

The struggle with cognitive binaries in sociological metho­dology, in the post-World War II milieu, found various arti­culations, such as Bourdieu’s field view of methodology and reflexivity, and Alvin Gouldner’s sociology of sociology.1 The fundamental overcoming of the popular methodological binaries is hitherto an unfinished intellectual project. Most of these binaries were historical by-products of the early modern social sciences, and it was imperative to reconfigure “socio­logies” beyond them in a plural context of experiences.2 This paper entails an imperative of overcoming binaries to fathom the nuances of ontologically sound reflexivity. Such a possibility arises with regard to a methodological exploration of a literary work of renowned modern litterateur Phanishwar Nath Renu (1921–77) and thereof reflexivity.

Upsetting the epistemological orthodoxy that perpetuates binaries such as subject and object, fact and fiction, modernity and tradition, and, above all, subjectivity and objectivity, an ontological turn makes it possible for us to see culture as fraught with differences, and many world views in the worlds.3 It amounts to reading the relational idea of locations, humans, and everyday experiences in research practices, whereby, the Cartesian premise of the social sciences that bifurcates sensuous body and pure intellect would successfully meet the famous Gilbert Ryle (2009) who offered one of the earliest critiques of what he called Descartes’ myth. The mind may be a site of mental acts, but the embodied experiences do not become the second fiddle in the dramatics of cognition. He argues that

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Updated On : 31st Jan, 2024
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