Volume 3, 2011
Interdisciplinary Phenomenology and the Study of Gender and Ethnicity
The study of gender and ethnicity (or, equally, sexuality and race) is complicated by the basic ambiguity regarding the meaning and signifying capacity of each of these designations. A phenomenological approach aids in explicating the specific social, cultural and historical terms in which the designations of gender and ethnicity come to have different meanings and signifying capacities. Such an explication reveals variously contested boundaries of knowledge-production, and allows for a return to concrete world where meaning, culture, and history are embodied. The present work examines the study of gender and ethnicity as it has developed in relation to the postmodern and postcolonial challenges leveled against social science, and argues for an interdisciplinary and decolonial phenomenology that neither ignores the existential and embodied reality as experienced by those who are designated objects of scientific study, nor valorizes the experience of social objectification or dehumanization. The present work argues that an interdisciplinary and decolonial phenomenology, provides the basis for a full recognition of the intersubjective conditions in which human recognition (and non-recognition) are possible, as well as a critical approach in assessing how the relationship between experience and perspective leads to the truly insightful understanding emerging in this particular time and this particular place.