Schizophrenia in the World: Arguments for a Contextual Phenomenology of Psychopathology

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
Elizabeth Pienkos Clarkson University Potsdam, NY USA

Search for other papers by Elizabeth Pienkos in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Traditionally, phenomenological theories of schizophrenia have emphasized disturbances in self-experience, with relatively little acknowledgement of the surrounding world. However, epidemiological research consistently demonstrates a strong relationship between traumatic and stressful life events and the development of schizophrenia, suggesting that encounters in the world are highly relevant for many people diagnosed with this disorder. This paper reviews foundational texts in phenomenology and phenomenological psychopathology on the nature of subjectivity and its disturbances, finding support for broadening contemporary phenomenological models of schizophrenia to incorporate world events and their subjective meaning as essential aspects of this disorder. This contextual approach to phenomenology emphasizes the relationship between self and world, one that is especially unstable, unclear, and untrustworthy in schizophrenia. Both epidemiological and phenomenological research can benefit from this approach: in epidemiology, researchers might consider the ways that various risk factors are experienced by persons vulnerable to schizophrenia, while phenomenologists are encouraged to inquire about the environmental and social context in which altered experiences occur and incorporate these considerations into their explanatory models.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1588 661 64
Full Text Views 449 22 0
PDF Views & Downloads 729 44 0