Workshop of the lab of Micro-phenomenology
25 – 29 May 2020
Role of Micro-phenomenology research and practice
in the urgent ecological questions that our society is meeting
Organizers: Claire Petitmengin, Camila Valenzuela-Moguilansky, Magali Ollagnier-Beldame
Introduction and discussion on the basis of Claire's paper: Anchoring in lived experience as an act of resistance
Guðbjörg R Jóhannesdóttir
In this talk I will present some of my research and thoughts on the concepts of landscape and beauty. The research I have done on the aesthetic value and aesthetic experience of landscape has shown me the intimate relation between people and their environment and how they experience their relationality through their senses in aesthetic experiences of landscape. I will discuss how speaking about and acknowledging these experiences can have transformative effects, and how they can become the source of a deeper knowing of one‘s own place in the world.
In Place of Thinking: Thinking in Place
If 'we can't solve our problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them', then we need to find ways to cultivate new kinds of thinking.
I believe our disregard for the environment and the lamented "extinction of experience" are both a manifestation of our conceptualization of thinking and mind as taking place in an abstract "Nowhere" environment, a mere negligible background to our abstract thinking selves. To change our interaction with the environment, we must enter the background.
We will begin in place. We will explore our embodied interaction with place, after which I will share some inspirations, principles, and examples of my work as a landscape architect designing places that facilitate non-discursive experiencing.
Starting from the identification of some methodological challenges, I would like to propose thematic axes that, in my point of view, require further development to strengthen the study of experience. The approach of these axes can open the discussion for the distinction between micro-phenomenology as an interview method and the study of experience as a scientific discipline. Although the reflection is based on methodological challenges, I believe it may have epistemological implications by questioning the way in which knowledge generation is currently conceived.
Hanne Bess Boelsbjerg, Katrin Heimann, Fergus Anderson
In this session, we would like to initiate a discussion about the potentials of micro-phenomenology (MP) to enhance and deepen the experience of nature and art.
We suggest that experiencing is an ever changing and highly nuanced phenomenon, which we are intimately related to. It is like a flow of life streaming through us, that is both at the same time ourselves and something ‘other’. The question that we would like to explore is how attentiveness towards experiencing might also deepen and enlighten our experience of nature and art.
We invite other micro-phenomenologists to explore this theme by introducing an exercise and then reflect upon it in an open discussion.
After this open and exploratory sharing, we will discuss how much practice (of MP) is needed to achieve a change in the way we attend to experience, and which context is needed to support it (on a research scale as well as on a societal scale).
By presenting MP research involving untrained informants, we will reflect upon to what extend it is possible to set up studies or interventions with laymen or little trained MPs, or whether we need to educate everybody in MP? And under which circumstances are both possible?
Donata Schoeller and Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir
Ema Demšar and Urban Kordes
Results of many first-person studies describe experience as pictures, comprised of experiential “elements” (such as visual experiences, sounds, affective and bodily feelings, etc.) or short films consisting of a sequence of such pictures. We much more rarely encounter descriptions of attentional gestures through which these “elements” are enacted. To our knowledge, the only empirical phenomenological study explicitly aimed at examining characteristics of such gestures is Petitmengin and colleagues’ (2009) analysis of the experience of listening to a sound, in which the authors distinguish between three different types of auditory experience as resulting from three different types of participants’ ways of relating to their experience (i.e., “attentional dispositions”).
We believe that the ways in which we relate to our lived experience crucially co-determine the resulting experiential “elements”, and that it is therefore important to study them. This is even more crucial since specific attentional dispositions seem to be necessary in order to reflectively examine some of the more subtle aspects of experience. We would like to propose a discussion on how to approach such examination. In light of its focus on attentional gestures and dynamics of consciousness, micro-phenomenology seems to be the obvious choice for the job.
A promising approach might be coupling micro-phenomenological interview method with a framework that uses meditation practice as an instrument for detecting and describing characteristics of attending to experience. We call these characteristics “horizons” of attending to experience and are currently developing a meditation-based methodology for their examination (SROE – sampling reflectively observed experience).