In the spirit of the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology's aim to encourage field-specific research in the human and social sciences within a phenomenological paradigm, the journal releases Special Editions from time to time, each focussing on particular aspects or categories of phenomenological research and theory in the broadest possible sense.
Guest Editors take responsibility for the intellectual content of each Special Edition although, overall, each must be aligned with the Mission and Values of the IPJP.
Requests will be considered in relation to the Mission and Values of the IPJP. Please note that with the exception of the editorial material itself, the usual APC will apply.
The journal released a special issue devoted to method in phenomenology as distinct from research per se within a phenomenological paradigm. As such, the papers in this Special Edition focus on substantive foundational issues pertaining to the notion of method within the broad ambit of the phenomenological paradigm.
The thought-provoking editorial of the 2002 (September) issue of the IPJP asks for a broadened understanding and acceptance of varied phenomenological orientations to research. Robert Schweitzer draws attention to research inspired by the Duquesne school of phenomenological research, which some believe to be at odds with the rationale and purpose of Husserlian phenomenology.
Over the past 30 years, scholars associated with this School (particularly Amedeo Giorgi) have established a tradition of empirical phenomenological research where the focus is on the lived-experience of research participants rather than on how the phenomenon presents itself to the researcher. This approach has found fertile ground in the field of education, perhaps for obvious reasons. Education (and all its associated activities and processes, such as learning, teaching, leading and managing) remains a phenomenon which is profoundly about being human. In this regard, the editors are aware of studies in areas such as education leadership (particularly of female leadership), students’ experience of learning (particularly of second or foreign languages), students’ acquisition of academic discourse (again, particularly of non-mother tongue learners), and values in leadership.
Early childhood education teachers and learners tend often to hold onto the experiences and meanings that arise from these early years, and all that happens at all age-levels and in the broad contexts that we call schools (for young children). Teachers, parents and guardians, and young children are thus ideal research participants where lived-experience is a primary focus of the research. Seminal in this area of interpretative phenomenology is the foundational work of Dr Max van Manen.
This special edition focuses on the ways in which phenomenological inquiry can facilitate embodied relational understanding within a pedagogical context. The term 'embodied relational understanding' has been used to refer to ways of knowing that have often been neglected in traditional educational contexts. These involve ways of knowing that are inclusive of the 'head, hand and heart', and do not excessively separate knowing from practical contexts that include the aesthetic, empathic, embodied and relational dimensions of understanding. The challenge to phenomenology has to do with the contribution it can make towards facilitating a range of pedagogical strategies that may empower this more inclusive form of knowing. For example, we can ask: How can narrative, poetry, mythology, film and literature be drawn upon in phenomenologically sensitive and rigorous ways in order to facilitate lived understandings in others (our students, our clients, our professional colleagues)? What pedagogical approaches can guide practice in education, psychotherapy, health and social care, media studies, ecology, cultural studies, archaeology and other disciplines which benefit from understandings of 'what it is like'? How can we teach and communicate existential issues in ways that facilitate 'touched understandings'?
To improve the depth as well as the reach of scholarship and research within the phenomenological perspective requires that we attend not only to the question of what readings could, or should, be recommended to both a relative neophyte as well as an advanced postgraduate student, but also to the question of how phenomenology is taught in different disciplines and at different levels.
In the conclusion of a 1973 chapter on phenomenological psychology, Misiak and Sexton wrote that for phenomenological psychology to remain a viable movement and an enriching influence it would have to:
accept some common conceptual core or proclaim some phenomenological creed which would identify and unify the dispersed phenomenological family;
develop and constantly improve phenomenological methodology;
be ever cognizant of scientific advances in all psychological fields;
maintain a continuous dialogue with other psychological movements; and
remain in close touch with phenomenological philosophy.
Whatever the merit and status of this assessment, we are now, more than 40 years later, in a vastly changed world with a constantly changing higher education landscape and therefore in a different position to re-assess the “what” and “how” of teaching phenomenology in various disciplines.
Using the discipline of psychology as a case study, for example, what might we learn if we ask questions about “what” phenomenology is taught and “how” it is taught with respect to themes such as:
different styles and levels of difficulty in the teaching of phenomenology;
exposition of basic phenomenological ideas;
application and exercising of methodological principles;
treatment of important figures in the history of the phenomenological movement;
new developments within this approach;
discussion of the relationships of phenomenology to other traditions and, finally,
the relationship of phenomenology to disciplines other than philosophy?
While it is not possible to attend to all of these issues in a single edition of the IPJP, the above agenda served as a guiding map for contributions to this Special Edition.
The aim of this special issue is to discuss the use of the phenomenological notion of the lifeworld in educational empirical research. This notion was originally developed within philosophy to answer philosophical questions. If it is going to be used in empirical research, it is necessary to discuss how it can be used in this new and different context. This special issue addresses this challenge in two ways: by theoretical discussion and by showing how the lifeworld can be used in research practice. The special issue includes contributions from the Gothenburg tradition.
The Special Edition dealing with the lifeworld in empirical research in education was released in September 2013 under the Guest Editorship of Professor Jan Bengtsson. This compilation of works was published posthumously.
This Special Edition will focus on a number of recent phenomenological inquiries into potentially impactful human experiences that have a special clinical relevance. These topics invariably involve issues that touch the core of our humanness and are, therefore, both essential to explore and difficult to face, especially in a psychotherapeutic setting, at one and the same time. In the current context, these issues involve particular experiences that address grieving, self-empowerment, substance abuse, suicide, body image dissatisfaction, trauma, and psychiatric institutionalization and self-acceptance.
The methodology of these studies consists primarily of classic constituent analysis, the results of which will be discussed in terms of each particular study's findings, as well as any thematic threads that emerged across related experiences. The implications of these results for individual self-transformation, and the quality and practice of psychotherapy will be addressed.
Theme: Psychobiography and Phenomenology
Psychobiography, the in-depth investigation of the lives of individuals (usually prominent) using psychological theory, is a sub-discipline of psychology that traces its history back to Sigmund Freud and his (in)famous study of Leonard de Vinci.
Following a hiatus in the early to mid-twentieth century, psychobiography has, in recent decades, experienced resurgence, with psychobiographical studies being conducted at many universities and published in a variety of prominent journals. This renewed interest in psychobiography has led to a host of questions being raised regarding its status within the psychology 'universe' (so to speak), in particular in relation to its positioning as an epistemological (rather than simply methodological) endeavour.
This Special Edition of the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology looks to contribute to these ideas through calling for psychobiographical papers that incorporate ideas or aspects that relate to phenomenology.
At its most basic, phenomenological research focuses on experiences as lived, avoiding interpretation and judgement, which is seemingly in sharp contrast to psychobiography's focus on the interpretation and evaluation of the lived experiences of others. Thus, to paraphrase Alan Elms (1994), this Special Edition speaks to the 'uneasy alliance' between psychobiography and phenomenology, and seeks to further explore this interaction.
Papers submitted for possible inclusion in this Special Edition should have a psychobiography focus and should address some phenomenological concerns.
Theme: The Phenomenology of Sport Participation
This special edition will explore the phenomenological study of men and women’s experience of sport participation with the aim of shedding light on the lived experience of competition that could easily be overlooked by other approaches to research. The sport performer is regarded as an expert in his or her field, and can add much knowledge and value to the further understanding of the psychology of sport participation.
As an increasing number of individual athletes and teams approach sport psychologists to assist them in dealing with the psychological pressures of performance, knowledge about athletes’ experience of the competitive environment becomes important. Studies that place an emphasis on the psychological experience of an athlete just before, during and after competition, and how it unfolds throughout the competition can be invaluable in this regard.
Theme: The Phenomenology of Positive Psychology
The field of positive psychology, with its focus on psychological strengths, optimal functioning and human flourishing, has burgeoned in the past decade. This Special Edition will focus on qualitative research that explores facets of positive psychological functioning. Whilst quantitative studies have provided significant clarification of constructs such as psychological well-being, and confirmed the importance of positive emotions and positive interventions, there is still the need for a more in-depth understanding of positive psychology.
We are interested in publishing research exploring the lived experience of individuals that is related to all facets of positive functioning, including, but not limited to, positive traits, positive relationships, and positive psychological interventions.
Theme: The Phenomenology of Hypnosis
Hypnosis has been applied in various ways and contexts to promote physical and psychological healing. Its application goes as far back as the healing practices in ancient cultures, where rituals were implemented to treat disorders. In the early 20th century, hypnosis became a field of serious scientific inquiry, leading to the development of various theories of, and approaches in, hypnotherapy.
In this Special Edition we are inviting research on how hypnosis is experienced by both therapist and client. For example, we are interested in the ‘subjective’ experience of facilitating hypnotherapy (as therapist) as well as being in hypnosis and receiving hypnotherapy (as client). Further questions, for instance, might include: “What is the lived experience of being trained in hypnotherapy?” and “How are specific approaches to hypnotherapy experienced by clients?”