De-Naturalizing the Natural Attitude: A Husserlian Legacy to Social Phenomenology

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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This essay focuses on Husserl’s conception of the natural attitude, which, I argue, is one of his most important contributions to contemporary phenomenology. I offer a critical exploration of this concept’s productive explanatory potential for feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theory, and disability studies. In the process, I draw attention to the rich, multi-faceted, and ever-changing social world that can be brought to life through this particular phenomenological concept. One of the most striking features of the natural attitude, as Husserl describes it, is that it is not natural at all, but rather, is a developmental phenomenon that is acquired through, and profoundly influenced by, specific socio-cultural practices. To de-naturalize the natural attitude, then, is to recognize that the natural attitude is not fixed or innate but relative to a particular time period and culture, and therefore always capable of being changed.

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