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(2012) Founding psychoanalysis phenomenologically, Dordrecht, Springer.

The phenomenological psychology of gender

how trans-sexuality and intersexuality express the general case of self as a cultural object

Ian R Owen

pp. 199-212

Transcendental phenomenology identifies ideal enabling conditions that permit something to happen or exist unlimited by ideas of what constitutes the world (Hua IX, 305, 328, 334, 336, 341–5). Intersubjectivity for Husserl names the conditions for knowledge to be social. For him, phenomenological psychology interpreted conscious experience and explained the creation of meaning in its social habitat as part of a biological, psychological and social whole as reality. In this light, the conscious meanings and experiences of gender are considered. The terminology employed is that "gender" refers to intersubjective (or psychosocial) aspects of culturally-defined identity and roles; whilst "sex" refers to physical aspects of the body. The relation between physical sex and intersubjective gender is explored to show how people find and place themselves within pre-existing codes of cultural objects and their manifolds of meaning. The usual assumption is that gender follows a simple binary classification of there being two mutually exclusive sexes. But the assumptions concerning mutually-exclusive gender and sex are challenged by a full attention to the evidence. The focus is not on Husserl exegesis but showing how being trans-sexual and intersexual are part of the way in which people create and express their identities. Specific comments on trans-sexuality have been derived from first-person accounts that are interpreted in a Husserlian way. Trans-sexualism is where persons feel themselves to be, in part or in whole, of a different combination of gender characteristics to their sex. People who are "primary" trans-sexuals help explain the nature of psychological meaning concerning roles, identity and culturally-constituted meanings. Intersexuality is where people have biological aspects of both sexes. The region of evidence for consideration is the set of the ­cultural objects of gendered behaviour and identity. "— End of Abstract'

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1848-7_10

Full citation:

Owen, I.R. (2012)., The phenomenological psychology of gender: how trans-sexuality and intersexuality express the general case of self as a cultural object, in D. Lohmar & J. Brudzińska (eds.), Founding psychoanalysis phenomenologically, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 199-212.

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