Thinking corporeally, socially, and politically

Critical phenomenology after Merleau-Ponty and Bourdieu

Jérôme Melançon

pp. 1-28

For Merleau-Ponty and Bourdieu, thinking is a social and political activity and must be understood as embodied, as taking place in a social context, and as having political effects. Following their work, this article shows how both phenomenology and the social sciences, in order to give a complete account of human reality, must recognize the distance reflection creates between thought and practical existence to reach the ontological, social, and political meaning of both kinds of experiences. Their explanations of the embodiment of society in individuals and of the materiality of thinking offer an alternative to ontological difference they criticize in Heidegger. This study of Merleau-Ponty and Bourdieu serves to lay the bases for a critical phenomenology as an attitude that can be adopted in the context of either discipline, but also to defend the position that thinking is always a way to find ourselves in others and others in ourselves.

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Full citation [Harvard style]:

Melançon, J. (2014). Thinking corporeally, socially, and politically: Critical phenomenology after Merleau-Ponty and Bourdieu. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique 10 (8), pp. 1-28.

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