Phenomenology of the Broken Body  book cover
1st Edition

Phenomenology of the Broken Body

ISBN 9780367731885
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Some fundamental aspects of the lived body only become evident when it breaks down through illness, weakness or pain. From a phenomenological point of view, various breakdowns are worth analyzing for their own sake, and discussing them also opens up overlooked dimensions of our bodily constitution. This book brings together different approaches that shed light on the phenomenology of the lived body—its normality and abnormality, health and sickness, its activity as well as its passivity. The contributors integrate phenomenological insights with discussions about bodily brokenness in philosophy, theology, medical science and literary theory. Phenomenology of the Broken Body demonstrates how the broken body sheds fresh light on the nuances of embodied experience in ordinary life and ultimately questions phenomenology’s preunderstanding of the body.

Table of Contents


Espen Dahl, Cassandra Falke, Thor Eirik Eriksen

Section I: Vulnerable Bodies

1. Weakness and Passivity: Phenomenology of the Body after Paul

Espen Dahl

2. The Vulnerable Body – Merleau-Ponty and Psychoanalysis

Ståle Finke

3. Bodily Pain and the Breakdown of Language in Algerian Testimony and Literature

Alexandra Megearu

4. Framing Embodiment in Violent Narratives

Cassandra Falke

Section II: Suffering Bodies

5. Only Vulnerable Creatures Suffer: On Suffering, Embodiment and Existential Health

Ola Sigurdson

6. The Body Beyond Scientific Certainty – Brokenness, Uncanniness, Affectedness

Thor Eirik Eriksen

7. No Way Out: A Phenomenology of Pain

Christian Grüny

8. The Phenomenology of Fatigue

Katherine Morris

Section III: Recovery and Life´s Margins

9. Suffering’s Double Disclosure and the Structure of Normality in Experience

James McGuirk

10. Recovery as Re-attunement: Repairing the Body-World Relationship

Drew Leder

11. Notes from a Heart Attack

Kevin Aho

12. Broken Pregnancies

Talia Welsh

13. Dying Bodies and Dead Bodies: A Phenomenological Analysis of Dementia, Coma and Brain Death

Fredrik Svenaeus

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Espen Dahl is Professor of Systematic Theology at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. His research interests mainly focus on the intersection between twentieth-century philosophy (phenomenology and ordinary language philosophy) and theology. His publications include Stanley Cavell, Religion, and Continental Philosophy (2014); In Between. The Holy Beyond Modern Dichotomies (2011); The Holy and Phenomenology. Religious Experience after Husserl (SCM Press 2010). Dahl has published numerous articles on theology and philosophy, such as "Job and the Problem of Physical Pain – a Phenomenological Reading," Modern Theology 2016, 32 (1); and "Humility and Generosity: On the Horizontality of the Divine Givenness," Neue Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie, 55 (nr 3) (2013).

Cassandra Falke is a Professor of English Literature at UiT-The Arctic University of Norway. Her books include Intersections in Christianity and Critical Theory (ed. 2010), Literature by the Working Class: English Autobiography, 1820-1848 (2013), and most recently The Phenomenology of Love and Reading (2016). She has also authored articles about Wordsworth, Byron, Coleridge, liberal arts education, contemporary phenomenology and the portrayal of violence in literature.

Thor Eirik Eriksen has a PhD in Philosophy and holds a position as senior adviser at The University Hospital of North Norway and Assistant Professor of Community Medicine, at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. His main research interests are philosophy of science, existential philosophy, phenomenology and the borderland between philosophy and medicine. He has been a contributing author on such articles as: "At the Borders of Medical Reasoning: Aetiological and Ontological Challenges of Medically Unexplained Symptoms" in Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine (in press), "The Medically Unexplained Revisited" in Medicine Healthcare and Philosophy (2012), "Patients' 'Thingification', Unexplained Symptoms and Response-ability in the Clinical Context" (2016).