Special issue: Phenomenology of the Human Sciences
Guest Editor: Richard L. Lanigan
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Richard L. LANIGAN: Special Issue Introduction: Defining the Human Sciences
Alfred Schutz Interview on Economics and Politics
- Roger KOPPL and Mie AUGIER: Introduction to the Schutz Interview
- Bettina B. GREAVES: Interview with Alfred Schutz, 20 November 1958
Amedeo GIORGI: Phenomenology: From Philosophy to Science
Abstract: Phenomenology is a philosophy and it will always remain one. However, philosophies are also foundations for sciences and thus far in the West some form of empiricism or other has been the primary foundation for all sciences. Phenomenological philosophy has been developing for about a century now and is mature enough to serve as a basis for a science, especially the human sciences. This article articulates how phenomenological philosophy can serve as a foundation for the science of phenomenological psychology and it indicates how its key concepts are better able to clarify and develop a proper understanding of human reality in a rigorous scientific way.
Jacqueline MARTINEZ: Interdisciplinary Phenomenology and the Study of Gender Ethnicity
Abstract: The study of gender and ethnicity (or, equally, sexuality and race) is complicated by the basic ambiguity regarding the meaning and signifying capacity of each of these designations. A phenomenological approach aids in explicating the specific social, cultural and historical terms in which the designations of gender and ethnicity come to have different meanings and signifying capacities. Such an explication reveals variously contested boundaries of knowledge-production, and allows for a return to concrete world where meaning, culture, and history are embodied. The present work examines the study of gender and ethnicity as it has developed in relation to the postmodern and postcolonial challenges leveled against social science, and argues for an interdisciplinary and decolonial phenomenology that neither ignores the existential and embodied reality as experienced by those who are designated objects of scientific study, nor valorizes the experience of social objectification or dehumanization. The present work argues that an interdisciplinary and decolonial phenomenology, provides the basis for a full recognition of the intersubjective conditions in which human recognition (and non-recognition) are possible, as well as a critical approach in assessing how the relationship between experience and perspective leads to the truly insightful understanding emerging in this particular time and this particular place.
Lori K. SCHNEIDER: Local Workers, Global Work Place, and the Experience of Place
Abstract: This hermeneutic phenomenological study of how remote workers in global corporations experience and interpret local place is based on Heidegger’s thinking about space, place, and dwelling, Giddens’ conception of globalization as “time-space distanciation,” and recent research and theory related to remote work and architecture. Study participants are knowledge workers in the United States and Europe who work full time from home as employees of large global corporations. The analysis reveals several insights about remote workers’ lived experience of place, including the importance of managing the threshold between work and home and the need to create spaces for interaction at work. Some remote workers learn to shape, choose, or create places that better suit them, while others prefer to remain in place. Some become more involved in their local communities, helping these communities become more globally-connected while retaining their unique local qualities. The analysis reveals five themes that suggest that place is both spatial and temporal. A place is a specific location within physical space that acquires personal meaning, arising from a person’s past history and evolving with ongoing or repeated experience. Individuals make meaning of place as Center (groundedness or rootedness), Setting (activity, convenience or purpose), and Source (generativity, inspiration or transcendence). We shape and respond to places; places shape us as our lives take place within them.
Mary Beth MORRISSEY: Phenomenology of Pain and Suffering at the End of Life: An Ethical Perspective in Gerontological Social Work
Abstract: This analysis explores the phenomenology of suffering and temporal, genetic and social developmental aspects of suffering for seriously ill older adults. A phenomenological account of suffering is advanced using oral history data from in-depth interviews with a seriously ill, frail elderly woman. The analysis evaluates how a phenomenological account of suffering may inform ethics in end-of-life decision making, and may provide a further basis for an integrated ethical and gerontological response to suffering in palliative social work practice with seriously ill older adults at the end of life. Levinas’s ethical philosophy and conceptualizations of the non-totalizing relation of self to other, disinterest, and radical passivity are employed to help reframe an approach to the ethical relation and the nature of obligation in end-of-life care, expanding consciousness of suffering and its meanings in an intersubjectively experienced world. Differences in Husserl’s account of the other and the concept of alterity in Levinas’s ethics are explored in the context of phenomenology as a descriptive science that respond directly to the pragmatic concerns of the analysis.
Luann D. FORTUNE: Essences of Somatic Awareness as Captured in a Verbally Directed Body Scan: A Phenomenological Case Study
Abstract: Somatic awareness is bodily sensation imbued with consciousness. Directing and cultivating somatic awareness is a practice fundamental to many therapeutic and spiritual enterprises. Recent developments in neuroscience attempt to explain the operational aspects of somatic awareness. But it has long been a topic of conversation in other paradigms, from philosophy to health care. Somatic input provides information for use in wellness treatment applications, including therapeutic bodywork. Yet few massage therapy scholarly investigations aim to capture the quality of body awareness experience. The essence of the experience and its associated language remain imprecise and under-explored holistically. This article implements the therapeutic practice technique of the Body Scan to capture the essence of an inner body exploration (proprioception and interoception). Based on a narrative collected during a verbally self-directed exercise, a phenomenological description is explicated to represent one incident of internal body experience. The pilot study suggests that the Body Scan offers potential as a research tool, as well as a modality for therapeutic intervention.
Bryan SMYTH: Generating Sense: Schizophrenia and Phenomenological Praxis
Abstract: The aim of phenomenology is to provide a critical account of the origins and genesis of the world. This implies that the standpoint of the phenomenological reduction is properly extramundane. But it remains an outstanding task to formulate a credible account of the reduction that would be adequate to this seemingly impossible methodological condition. This paper contributes to rethinking the reduction accordingly. Building on efforts to thematize its intersubjective and corporeal aspects, the reduction is approached as a kind of transcendental practice in the context of generativity. Foregrounding the psychotherapeutic encounter with persons suffering schizophrenic delusion as paradigmatic of the emergence of shared meaning, it is argued that this is where we may best come to terms with the methodological exigencies of phenomenology’s transcendental aim. It follows that phenomenologists across all disciplines may have something important to learn from how phenomenology has been put into practice in the psychotherapeutic domain.
Frank MACKE: Deception, Sin, and the Existential Bargain of Adolescent Embodiment: Identity, Intimacy, and Eroticism
Abstract: This essay pursues the psychological and communicological problematic of “lying” from the standpoint of Nietzsche, Bataille, and the psychoanalytic study of family systems. For purposes of this essay, “lying” will be defined as a conscious misrepresentation of one’s own experiential memory. The essential argument of the essay, closely following Bataille’s concept of eroticism and communication, will be that the transformation of selfhood from childhood to adolescent sexual embodiment necessitates the performance of the lie as a necessary “crime” against the home-world of the family system. Herman Hesse’s novel, Demian, serves as a critical source of illustration for the existential bargain of adolescence.
Paul GYLLENHAMMER: Virtue, Ethics, and Neurosis
Abstract: Aristotle’s account of virtue is criticized through John Russon’s existential phenomenology of the human being. For Russon, neurosis is a characteristic of human being, whereas Aristotle would say that neurotic tensions do not arise in genuinely good people. The essay argues that an Aristotelian attitude engenders a particularly destructive form of neurosis by not recognizing the inherently dynamic nature of human identity. The essay seeks to build a theory of virtue that resists the idea of human fulfillment as ending in a final state of well-being and contentment.
Dennis E. SKOCZ: Wall Street and Main Street in Schutzian Perspective
Abstract: Wall Street and Main Street have become opposing icons in narratives of boom and bust that endeavor to account for the financial meltdown in fall 2008 and the Great Recession that followed. In many such narratives, Wall Street denizens are said to have brought on the economic collapse in which ordinary Main Streeters became collateral damage. Economic analysis and political advocacy are carried on in a metaphorics which implicates the fate of Main Street in the rituals of Wall Street. Metaphors can enlighten and mislead, and likely these do both. The present effort aims to go behind the metaphors in order to understand the worlds of Wall Street and Main Street mobilizing the conceptual resources of Schutzian phenomenology.
Michael GUBSER: The Terror and The Hope: Jan Patočka’s Transcendence to the World
Abstract: This essay examines Czech philosopher Jan Patočka’s phenomenology as a philosophy of freedom. It shows how Patočka’s phenomenological concept of worldliness, initially cast within a largely philosophical framework as the domain of human action and transcendence, turned toward a philosophical history of the modern age, viewed as increasingly post-European. Patočka hoped for the moral renewal of a fallen modernity, led first by non-Europeans after the era of decolonization and then by a “solidarity of the shaken” during the dark 1970s of Czechoslovak normalization. The essay starts and concludes by considering the relation between his thought and his dissidence, a link that is more tenuous and indirect than some commentators suggest.
Richard L. LANIGAN: Husserl’s Phenomenology in America (USA): The Human Science Legacy of Wilbur Marshall Urban and the Yale School of Communicology
Abstract: Edmund Husserl gave his famous London Lectures (in German) in June 1922 where he says his purpose is to explain “transcendental sociological [intersubjective] phenomenology having reference to a manifest multiplicity of conscious subjects communicating with one another”. This effective definition of semiotic phenomenology as Communicology was reported in English (1923) by Charles K. Ogden and I. A. Richards in the first book on the topic titled The Meaning of Meaning. This groundwork was in full development by 1939 with the first detailed use of Husserl’s phenomenology to explicate human communication, i.e., the publication of Wilbur Marshal Urban’s Language and Reality. My paper addresses Urban’s use of Husserl’s philosophy to both explicate the phenomenological method and to explore the constitutive elements of human communication and culture. Urban makes use of the work on language and culture by his famous colleagues at Yale University (USA): Edward Sapir (the linguist), Benjamin Lee Whorf (Sapir’s graduate student), and Ernst Cassirer. My own teacher at the University of New Mexico (USA) was Hubert Griggs Alexander, a doctoral student under Urban and a classmate of Whorf. The interdisciplinary focus on Culture and Communicology by Professors Cassirer, Sapir, Urban, and their doctoral students, Alexander and Whorf are collectively known as the “Yale School of Communicology.” Typical empirical examples of theoretical points are provided in the footnotes.
SPECIAL SYMPOSIUM ON DEAF EMBODIMENT
- Maureen CONNOLLY: Show Me a Sign: A Communicology of Bodily Expression at the Intersection of Deaf and Hearing Cultures
- Thomas D. CRAIG: This Body I Call Mine as Transgressive Sign
- Maureen CONNOLLY: Choreological Explorations of Carnal Poetics
- Jonathan PARSONS: Form, Content, and Function: Phenomenology and/in Sign Language Poetry
BOOK REVIEW ESSAY
Maureen CONNOLLY and Thomas D. CRAIG: Theory and Method in the Human Sciences [Amedeo Giorgi, The Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology: A Modified Husserlian Approach, Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 2009]
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