The present article explores the ethnographic space through which conscious and subconscious communication travels, by focusing on two dreams, one of the researcher and one of the researched. This dream exchange, a revealing affirmation of a shared subtext in the ethnographic space, presented itself during the collection of life stories of Ethiopian Jews now living in Israel who had been slaves of Jewish masters back in Ethiopia. In the specific ethnographic space examined, dreams not only mediated conversation between the conscious and subconscious of each of the dreamers but also placed an unconventional spin on the traditionally complementary roles of researcher and researched, when strikingly similar symbolic and schematic content appeared in the dreams of each. Insofar as the stuff of dreams is perceived as personal and intimate in Western psychoanalytic cosmology, dream communication has wide-reaching significance in breaching the ubiquitous and limiting dichotomies of ethnographic research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research is supported by the Medical Research Council. Thanks to the men who were willing to be interviewed for the study and to Stephen Nichol-son, Stephanie Church, Jamie Frankis and Barbaa Dunr can for their helpful comments on an earlier draft.