Natalia D. Lebedeva

MSSES, Moscow


This article deals with the tension between transcendental and naturalistic programs in studies of the body. The naturalistic approach, which is dominant in sociology, describes the body just as a biological organism. In contrast, the transcendental view on the body focuses on the specific experience given through the feeling body. However, this approach encounters some obstacles, as it defies operationalization. Therefore the aim of the sociology of the body is to impute the phenomenological (transcendental) intuitions of the body into the scientific analysis of social life. For that purpose, the author analyses conceptual potential of Hermann Schmitz’ phenomenology. The main question raised here is how encorporation should be realized. Schmitz defines encorporation as the change from the individuals’ bodily selfawareness to sociation. But he does not specify how this change is occurring. The author examines two interpetations of Schmitz’s phenomenological research. According to the first, encorporation is possible as a synthesis of the participants’ corporeal sensations (their ‘climates’). However, this interpretation does not assume formed unities itself, because sociation becomes unstable. The second way of interpretation deals with the change as the moment of corporeal expansion, which poses new problems for researchers. Foremost, it deals with the question about the observer’s perspective. Starting from a comparative analysis of Simmel’s and Schmitz’ writing, the author suggests a new model of exploring the forms of sociation, as well as the concep. of «existential feeling» as the bodily-emotional co-orientation of the participants. The author advances the thesis that the forming process is associated with one or another set of participants’ corporeal sensations, producing an existential feeling between them.

Keywords: sociology of the body, phenomenology of body, formal sociology, Hermann Schmitz, existential feeling, Leib