Über eine Thematisierung des Möglichen

Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 130.2005:99-125

##Contemplating possibility
The issue of contingency in narratives has long been of interest to the disciplines of philosophy, theoretical history and literary sciences. More recently, the question of how societies conceptualize and try to come to grips with the occurrence of the "expected unexpected" has gained an increasing importance both in anthropology and cultural studies generally. Built around a narrative - a more or less "classic" example of a "fighting story", well known in Northern Aboriginal Australia - the article demonstrates how the oft-repeated tale reflects not only an experience of the social but also a (desired) potential for transformation. Using insights drawn from theories that emphasize the presentational (as opposed to the representational) qualities of the symbolic. the paper shows how the immanent capacity for conflict is thematized in an "olden time story". The narrative may not resolve the problems it addresses; however, through its symbolic presentations it nevertheless serves as a multi-faceted means to confront and even to make sense - if only temporarily - of the incongruities and the paradoxes of daily life.##

Keywords: contingency, narrative, symbols, conflict, Aboriginees