The carer of the person with dementia is enjoined to maintain respect, and to reinforce this a bill of rights has been established (Bell and Troxel, 1994). Of course, talk of rights does not guarantee respectful behaviour. In this paper it is argued that the discovery that the sufferer continues to be a person, with a unique lifeworld, can assist the carer to conform willingly to the demand that they act respectfully.The current research project makes central the idiographic description of the individual case.
Derrida () made the case (following Mauss, ) that the ‘pure gift’ is impossible. Because of the element of obligation and reciprocity involved, gift relationships are inevitably reduced to relationships of economic exchange. This position echoes the exchange theory of the social behaviourists, the cost-benefit analyses of evolutionary psychology, and other reductionist conjectures. In this paper, 18 written accounts of gifting are analysed using established phenomenological tools of reflection. It is shown that the dynamics of the gift relationship are complex (for example the statuses of giver and recipient are problematical, as is the expression of gratitude) and, specifically, reciprocation in gifting is not akin to ‘repaying’ the gift, but should rather be seen as a response to the gift as an expression of affective affirmation, rendering this mutual. Gift giving is in the expressive realm rather than the practical (Harré, 1979). This was, intriguingly, known explicitly by Adam Smith ().
The realm of intentionality is definitive of phenomenology as a reflective methodology. Yet it is precisely the focus on the intentional given that has been condemned recently. Speculative realism (e.g. Meillassoux, 2008/2006) argues that phenomenology is unsatisfactory since the reduction to the intentional realm excludes the ‘external’, i.e. reality independent of consciousness. This criticism allows me to clarify the nature of intentionality. Material phenomenology finds, in contrast, that the intentional realm excludes the ‘inner’ (‘auto-affective life’—Henry, 1973/1963). This criticism allows me to discuss the way in which ipseity enters as an element of experience. Intentionality, viewed psychologically, is rightly the distinct arena of phenomenological psychology. However, there is no doubting the difficulty of maintaining a research focus precisely on the realm of intentionality; there are aporias of the reduction. I discuss some of the difficulties.
Qualitative research carried out within human science must provide justification for its findings. However, the justification of empirical claims concerning human meanings has to be approached in new ways: Quantitative procedures of validation or the use of experimental control are inappropriate. Many researchers have attempted to follow Schutz's (1962) ''postulate of adequacy," which lays down as a condition of acceptability of a scientific account of human action that it be understandable by the actor in terms of commonsense interpretation of everyday life. For instance, Harré (1978) suggests "validating" descriptions by ensuring that subjects of the research approve them. Against this approach, it is insisted that human science research is essentially an interpersonal process, and that therefore research activities cannot avoid such Goffmanesque features of self-presentation as resistance to being understood and eager acceptance of understanding, which are both pervasive possibilities of all social interaction. Thus, the research participant's agreement or disagreement cannot be taken as evidence as to the adequacy of a qualitative research description or interpretation.
Historically, the suspension of presuppositions (the epoché, or bracketing) arose as part of the philosophical procedure of the transcendental reduction which, Husserl taught, led to the distinct realm of phenomenological research: pure consciousness. With such an origin, it may seem surprising that bracketing remains a methodological concept of modern phenomenological psychology, in which the focus is on the life-world. Such a focus of investigation is, on the face of it, incompatible with transcendental idealism. The gap was bridged largely by Merleau-Ponty, who found it possible to interpret Husserl's later work in an existentialist way, and thus enabled the process of bracketing to refer, not to a turning away from the world and a concentration on detached consciousness, but to the resolve to set aside theories, research presuppositions, ready-made interpretations, etc., in order to reveal engaged, lived experience. This paper outlines the history of the suspension of presuppositions and discusses the scope and limitations of bracketing in its new sense within existential phenomenology. The emphasis is on research practice and on the phenomenological quest for entry into the life-world of the research participant. It is argued that the bracketing of presuppositions throughout the process of research should be a cardinal feature of phenomenological psychology. Of equal importance is the investigator's sensitive awareness that the investigation of the life-world and the phenomena which appear within it is a thoroughly interpersonal process, necessarily entailing the taken-for-granted assumptions implicit in all social interaction. These presuppositions are not open to bracketing.
Though there are few more pervasive features of the social world than the ebb and flow of individual participation, the literature only provides hints as to its phenomenology. The phenomenological investigation of social participation presented in this paper indicates that it essentially entails: 1. Attunement to the others' "stock of knowledge at hand" (though a non-cognitive understanding of this Schutzian term is necessary). 2. Emotional and motivational attunement to the group's concerns. 3. Taking for granted (and implicitly assuming the others take it for granted) that one can contribute appropriately. 4. Being able to assume that one's identity is not under threat. Though the implications can only be touched on in this paper, the phenomenological clarification of participation is a valuable resource, grounding many lines of research of contemporary significance-for instance, in education and the other "person professions" and in social policy and political science-and suggesting fruitful new perspectives.
As plagiarism is a notion specific to a particular culture and epoch, and is also understood in a variety of ways by individuals, particular attention must be paid to the putting of the phenomenological question, What is plagiarism in its appearing? Resolution of this issue leads us to locate students' perceptions and opinions within the lifeworld, and to seek an initially idiographic set of descriptions. Of twelve interview analyses, three are presented. (a) A student who took an especially anxious line, his morality having to do with the fear of being shamed were he to be accused of plagiarism in his work. (b) A student who saw academic development as the movement from dependence on respected authors such that the novice's work is near plagiaristic, to autonomy and self-assured originality. (c) A student whose degree involved painting and art history—disciplines with very distinct understandings of plagiarism. To combat plagiarism, then, one must not assume that students have a prior grasp of the unequivocal meaning of the notion, but must accept that a process of acculturation is required.