Anthropologists like Victor Turner and Edward Bruner focus their attention on the experience of experiencing. Their approach is to make an initial distinction between behavior, which is noted in other people, and experience, which is personally felt. It is a germane distinction, for anthropologists of their persuasion are more inclined to describe how it felt to be there, rather than what went on. Their stance is closer to phenomenology than to ethnography, and their efforts are concentrated on what gave the occasion its special flavor, its extraordinary character. Their approach suits my present purpose admirably, since my question is, What makes an NAEA conference special?


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