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Guenther, Lisa. Critical Phenomenology
2019, In 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology, ed. Gail Weiss, Ann Murphy and Gayle Salamon. Northwestern University Press, pp. 11-16
Added by: Tomasz Zyglewicz, Shannon Brick, Michael Greer
Phenomenology, the philosophical method that seeks to uncover the taken-for-granted presuppositions, habits, and norms that structure everyday experience, is increasingly framed by ethical and political concerns. Critical phenomenology foregrounds experiences of marginalization, oppression, and power in order to identify and transform common experiences of injustice that render “the familiar” a site of oppression for many. In Fifty Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology, leading scholars present fresh readings of classic phenomenological topics and introduce newer concepts developed by feminist theorists, critical race theorists, disability theorists, and queer and trans theorists that capture aspects of lived experience that have traditionally been neglected. By centering historically marginalized perspectives, the chapters in this book breathe new life into the phenomenological tradition and reveal its ethical, social, and political promise. This volume will be an invaluable resource for teaching and research in continental philosophy; feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; critical race theory; disability studies; cultural studies; and critical theory more generally.

Comment (from this Blueprint): Lisa Guenther, author of the 2015 book "Solidarity Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives," gives a quick overview of "critical phenomenology" and how it is different from classical phenomenology. The boundaries of critical phenomenology are still being drawn, but Guenther's concise explanation has already become canon. Understanding, in broad brush strokes, what critical phenomenology is will be important to engage with many conversations on feminist philosophy, especially in the continental tradition, since feminist theorists (inspired by Simone de Beavoir and Frantz Fanon) often appeal to lived experience in their theorizing of oppression.

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