Heideggerian Phenomenology, Practical Ontologies and the Link Between Experience and Practices

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Postphenomenologists and performativists criticize classical approaches to phenomenology for isolating human subjects from their socio-material relations. The purpose of this essay is to repudiate their criticism by presenting a nuanced account of phenomenology thus making it evident that phenomenological theories have the potential for meshing with the performative idiom of contemporary science and technology studies (STS). However, phenomenology retains an apparent shortcoming in that its proponents typically focus on human–nonhuman relations that arise in localized contexts. For this reason, it seems to contrast with one of the core assumptions behind practical ontologies: that socio-practical significance extends beyond an agent’s immediate situatedness in a localized context. Turning to Heidegger’s phenomenology and his notion of ‘de-distancing’, the essay explores how localized phenomena that pertain to human experience connect with global practices (i.e., socio-material assemblages and networks) and, thus, the possibility of consilience between phenomenological research and present-day STS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Studies
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)565-580
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • De-distancing
  • Heideggerian phenomenology
  • Local–global
  • Practical ontologies


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