Volume 5, Issue Part 2, 2010
Selected Essays from North America Part 2
Sandra P. Thomas
Merleau-Ponty and James Agee
Guides to the Novice Phenomenologist
French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty and American novelist and journalist James Agee are credited with inspiring a novice in phenomenological research inquiry to see the lifeworld freshly. Insights derived from their works were particularly relevant to nursing studies of ill persons whose bodies had become obstacles rather than enablers and whose worlds had shrunk to windowless hospital rooms. Both Merleau-Ponty and Agee provided guidance regarding genuine dialogue with other persons, discovering deeper meaning in the words and phrases spoken by interviewees, and the vibrant writing that “opens a new field or a new dimension” to the reader of the research report.