22 September 2015

Meaning and Method

How does one get at the meaning of things? How does one make sense of how people experience the world? How does one make sense of one’s own experience of the world? Is it possible to do rigorous research into human experience without dehumanizing that experience? Are there methods by means of which to study human experience that allow for the description of our discoveries in ways that share some of the nuance, luminosity, and breathtaking insightfulness that we sometimes encounter in poetry?

In this course we will consider these kinds of questions. Together we will explore phenomenologically-informed human science research practices that have been shaped by these kinds of concerns. We will experiment with our own small-scale research projects, which we will bring into juxtaposition with the exploration of meaning in key extracts from primary texts in the phenomenological philosophical tradition, in some poetry that explores concerns similar to those of the phenomenological tradition, and in the work of the environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy.

As we craft our research projects we will consider how the phenomenological tradition has informed four different contemporary approaches to doing human science research (and how our own research craft might be honed in interaction with these approaches): reflective lifeworld research as pioneered by Karen Dahlberg, interpretative phenomenological analysis as pioneered by Jonathan Smith, Mark Vagle’s post-intentional approach to phenomenological research, and Max van Manen’s phenomenology of practice.

ICSD 132501/232501 F15
Dr. Gideon Strauss

(MWS, MA, PhD)