1st Edition

Phenomenological Perspectives on Place, Lifeworlds, and Lived Emplacement The Selected Writings of David Seamon

By David Seamon Copyright 2023
    294 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Phenomenological Perspectives on Place, Lifeworlds and Lived Emplacement is a compilation of seventeen previously published articles and chapters by David Seamon, one of the foremost researchers in environmental, architectural, and place phenomenology. These entries discuss such topics as body-subject, the lived body, place ballets, environmental serendipity, homeworlds, and the pedagogy of place and placemaking.

    The volume's chapters are broken into three parts. Part I includes four entries that consider what phenomenology offers studies of place and placemaking. These chapters illustrate the theoretical and practical value of phenomenological concepts like lifeworld, natural attitude, and bodily actions in place. Part II incorporates five chapters that aim to understand place and lived emplacement phenomenologically. Topics covered include environmental situatedness, architectural phenomenology, environmental serendipity, and the value of phenomenology for a pedagogy of place and placemaking. Part III presents a number of explications of real-world places and place experience, drawing on examples from photography (André Kertész’s Meudon), television (Alan Ball’s Six Feet Under), film (John Sayles’ Limbo and Sunshine State), and imaginative literature (Doris Lessing’s The Four-Gated City and Louis Bromfield’s The World We Live in).

    Seamon is a major figure in environment-behavior research, particularly as that work has applied value for design professionals. This volume will be of interest to geographers, environmental psychologists, architects, planners, policymakers, and other researchers and practitioners concerned with place, place experience, place meaning, and place making.

    1. An Introduction: Going Places  Part I: The Value of Phenomenology for Studying Place  2. Lived Bodies, Place, and Phenomenology  3. The Wellbeing of People and Place  4. Body-Subject, Time-space Routines and Place Ballets  5. Whither Phenomenological Research?: Possibilities for Environmental and Place Studies;  Part II: Understanding Place Phenomenologically  6. Merleau-Ponty, Lived Body and Place: Toward a Phenomenology of Human Situatedness  7. Serendipitous Events in Place: The Weave of Bodies and Context via Environmental Unexpectedness and Chance  8. Architecture, Place, and Phenomenology: Buildings as Lifeworlds, Atmospheres, and Environmental Wholes  9. The Value of Phenomenology for a Pedagogy of Place and Placemaking  10. A Phenomenological Reading of Jane Jacobs’ Death and Life of Great American Cities;  Part III: Places, Lived Emplacement, and Place Presence  11. Place, Placelessness, Insideness, and Outsideness in American Filmmaker John Sayles’ Sunshine State  12. Place, Belonging, and Environmental Humility: The Experience of "Teched" as Portrayed by American Writer Louis Bromfield  13. Finding One’s Place: Environmental and Human Risk in Filmmaker John Sayles’ Limbo  14. Phenomenology and Uncanny Homecoming: Homeworld, Alienworld, and Being-at-Home in Alan Ball’s HBO Television Series, Six Feet Under  15. A Phenomenology of Inhabitation: The Lived Reciprocity between Houses and Inhabitants as Portrayed by American Writer Louis Bromfield  16. Using Place to Understand Lifeworld: The Example of British Novelist Penelope Lively’s Spiderweb  17. Moments of Realization: Extending Homeworld in British-African Novelist Doris Lessing’s Four-Gated City  18. Looking at a Photograph—André Kertész’s 1928 Meudon: Interpreting Aesthetic Experience Phenomenologically


    David Seamon is Professor of Environment-Behavior and Place Studies in the Department of Architecture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, USA. He is Editor of Environmental and Architectural Phenomenology. His most recent book is Life Takes Place: Phenomenology, Lifeworlds, and Place Making (Routledge, 2018).

    "For over forty years, David Seamon has been a central figure in interdisciplinary work on place and space. This new volume brings together a selection of Seamon’s essays that showcases the breadth and depth of his engagement. The volume admirably complements Seamon’s recent Life Takes Place (Routledge, 2018) and is an essential volume for those interested in humanistic and phenomenological thinking about place, world, and lived experience." -- Jeff Malpas, Emeritus Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

    "This volume demonstrates clearly why David Seamon is considered both a leading advocate for phenomenology and, also, through his work in geography and architecture, one of its pre-eminent practitioners. These eighteen chapters, mostly published since 2010 in diverse journals and edited collections, reveal the depth and range of his scholarship about the inseparability of person, place and lifeworld. This book demonstrates the diverse ways to do phenomenology and the complex wholeness of place and place experience." -- Edward Relph, Professor Emeritus of Geography, University of Toronto, Canada

    "David Seamon is one of the world’s foremost place theorists. This unique collection is not only a compelling compilation of his work but also an insightful, rich thematic overview of the fulness of meaning of the phenomenon of place. Each entry throws new light on phenomenology, lived experience, architecture, cities, environmental humility, home, and place-making. It is an exceptional volume that will be of interest to both the novice as well as those specializing in building and dwelling in place." -- Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, Professor Emerita, University of Toronto, Canada

    "In this wide-ranging collection of writings, David Seamon actually "goes places." He puts his ideas on places and placemaking into dialogue with other authors and disciplines (including artistic media like films, novels, short stories, and photographs), without forgetting to also verify those ideas through his own and others’ experience. After introducing the fundamental concepts of lifeworld, lived bodies, and environmental embodiment, and place ballets, Seamon illustrates brilliantly how lived emplacement should be understood and specific place situations might be improved via design, planning, and policy." -- Tonino Griffero, Full Professor of Aesthetics, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Italy

    "This collection offers readers a broad perspective on experiencing places and human lifeworlds. Throughout the book, Seamon incorporates other conceptual traditions and thoughtfully relates them to a phenomenological perspective—for example architectural theorist Bill Hillier’s space syntax and architect Christopher Alexander’s pattern language. The entries are written in a clear, accessible language that allows non-phenomenologists to readily follow Seamon’s arguments. This volume is a keystone text for phenomenological research dealing with place and place making." -- Akkelies van Nes, Professor of Architecture, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway

    "Marking over forty years of perseverance by phenomenological geographer David Seamon, this anthology is optimistic, strong, and resolutely defends the phenomenological tradition of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Unlike Edward Casey's intellectual archaeology of place or Jeff Malpas's topological reading of place, Seamon's interest focuses on day-to-day situations and events. He takes a close look at literary, cinematic, architectural, artistic, and photographic depictions of everyday experiences, reflecting on taken-for-granted aspects of human worlds. Seamon’s efforts lead to a better understanding of the importance of place and place experience as an anchor in people’s lives. The chapters in this volume explicate a phenomenology of the everyday, but also a phenomenology adapted to the everyday and to the everydayness of place. As a result, entries do not feel distant but more like the murmuring of a familiar but often neglected friend—place and place experiences." -- Xu Huang, Associate Professor of Geography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China

    "David Seamon’s abiding interest is the inseparability of our humanity from our contexts, our places—towns, homes, workplaces—where we live, die, love, dream. His concern is a sorely needed investigation if we wish to feel at home in our private worlds, become competent at urban planning, or, on a larger scale, address issues such as immigration, mobility, and globalization." -- Jenny Quillien, anthropologist and board member of the Sustasis Foundation, Portland, Oregon, USA

    "This book is a retrospective over the extremely productive and influential career of David Seamon. His work has paved the way for a phenomenological approach to geography and architecture, one which foregrounds the ways in which place is implicated in the human. Seamon’s approach to phenomenology in built and natural space has been widely influential and deeply insightful. His ability to connect scholarly work with art, literature, photography, television, and film ensures that the human’s debt to and dependence on place is seen in sophisticated and compelling ways. This book is a real joy—not only does it give a sense of the trajectory of Seamon’s sustained passion for seeing human flourishing in its places, but it also reminds us just how seminal his work has been for others in their own fields and suggests ways that a phenomenology of place remain relevant to academia and human life to this day. If anyone still doubts that place should matter for understanding the richness and creative spark in our humanity, this book is a resounding answer." -- Bruce Janz, Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Humanities and Digital Research at the University of Central Florida, USA

    "It is irrefutable that persons and places interact in complex and multitudinous ways. David Seamon is an original and insightful thinker, whose earlier Life Takes Place is a career-defining work. His innovative reworking of phenomenology reveals his percipience in appreciating the ongoing relevance of Husserl and Heidegger in the twenty-first century. This latest work is a wonderfully inventive and readable collection of essays that will repay attention myriad times. Chapters entertain as much as they educate." -- Carole Cusack, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Sidney, Australia

    "David Seamon writes with complex clarity about phenomenology and place. This new anthology addresses core phenomenological phenomena including those related to education—for example, place-based education evoking active learning, community engagement, and environmental stewardship in times of digital abstraction. Through examples from art (novels, short stories, film, and television), he engagingly examines the lifeworld directly and clarifies tacit, unnoticed aspects of human life that can be better accounted for theoretically and practically. Seamon amalgamates phenomenological method, philosophy, and presentation in a classic volume for future generations of phenomenologists." -- Tone Saevi, Professor of Education, VID Specialized University, Bergen, Norway