The deafening sound of culture: A young researcher's experience of the phenomenological reduction.

Year: 2012

Author: Jones, Ruan, Kirk, David, Whitehead, Margaret, Harvey, Stephen

Type of paper: Refereed paper


Phenomenology has a rich philosophical heritage that can be traced back to the work of Edmund Husserl (1913/1931) and later existential philosophers including Heidigger (1927/1962) and Merleau-Ponty (1945/1962). From these philosophical wellsprings an array of phenomenological oriented research approaches has arisen including, for example, Giorgi's (1985) descriptive phenomenological method.

Giorgi (1997) maintains that for any qualitative scientific method to meet phenomenological criteria in a descriptive sense would need to adopt the phenomenological attitude. This includes the systematic process of the phenomenological reduction in bracketing our notions of the natural world and the taken-for-granted assumptions of the phenomenon in question (Husserl, 1913/1931).

While Finlay (2008) lauds, quite rightly, Husserl's articulation of the reduction as his greatest achievement in defining the phenomenological attitude, Crotty (1998) reminds us of the difficulty in adopting the appropriate attitude because of our reliance as human beings on taxonomies, concepts and classifications in our natural world.

The aim of this presentation is to convey the difficulties I had in adopting such an attitude within my current research study when, at times, the noise of culture was deafening.  I will conclude my presentation by providing some examples of the way I attempted to silence the voices that beckoned me back to the natural attitude.

Chair: Tony Rossi