Introduction to the Phenomenological Approach to Urban, Residential, and Domestic Space
Keywords:Lived space, sense of space, constitution of space, meaning of home, appropriation of space
During the last century, in social and humanistic sciences, the dominant perspective on space was the political economy, focusing on how space relates to macro-social phenomena and minimizing the role of the micro-social ones, by conceptualizing space as a social force, constraining social actions. Despite sporadic attempts to theorize how people could escape the dominance of power by investing spaces with subjective meanings, appropriating spaces through body practices, or anchoring memories and identities into specific spaces, there is still a need to understand how spaces are lived and how daily life spatial contexts become micro-foundations for social actions. I conduct an interpretive synthesis to show how social scientists borrowed ideas from philosophers to understand the phenomenology of everyday life by capturing the experience of urban, residential, and domestic space. I explore space through phenomenological lenses to clarify concepts as: the constitution of space through perception, the sensorial and emotional experience of space and the atmosphere of a specific place, the sense of space, the meaning of feeling at home and being intimate with a particular place, the practice of home as a body extension. To nuance these ideas, I use results from four research projects I participated in: Couple living space in Brasov metropolitan area; Hidden faces of homelessness - Measuring homelessness in Europe; Inhabiting urban places and experiencing citizenship; I was a citizen of Stalin town. I conclude by extracting implications for the sociology of space field.
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