The postmodern opposition between theory and lived reality has led in part to an anthropological turn to "dialogic" or "reflexive" approaches. Michael Jackson claims these approaches are hardly radical, as they still drift into such abstractions as "society" or "culture". This text proposes an existential anthropology that recognizes even abstract relationships as modalities of interpersonal life. Jackson's work shows how general ideas are always anchored in particular social events and critical concerns. Emphasizing the intersubjective encounter over objective descriptions of the whole historical and contemporary situation of a given people, the author illustrates the power and originality of existential anthropology through a series of vignettes from his field work in Sierra Leone and Australia.