The universal structure of all lived experiences (continued)

The universal structure of all lived experiences (continued)

by Pierre Vermersch
The universal structure of all lived experiences (continued)

Perspective of the researcher and point of view of the subject: structure and content of the lived experience.
Answering a question from C. Delavergne, (I added numbers) : »1 / You quote the temporal structure as universal. You do not mention the spatial dimension. However, in your speech you use terms like space « layers », « place » …

2 /Yet, temporal perceptions also differ across cultures (cyclic perception, arrow of time, monochromy, polychromy ….)  »

3 / Also, we all trend to patterning (Schutz), this temporal structure « routine », incorporated action schemes « I do this, and then that » insinuating « as usual » or « always” , and also this ability to describe a situation, giving to it a typical plot structure, generalizing, to format a singular lived experience in this structure. In this case, the temporal structure is present, but is typified, and does not describe what was experienced.

I suppose that this also belongs to universal temporal structure …?

4 / But even in these situations called « routine », it happens differently as there are still micro « events » and micro decisions to take.
The identification of « qualitative temporal structures » is the one of the change of “granulation”, moving or reorienting the landmarks of the start and the end?
=================================

Initially, these issues seem to deal with simple oppositions: time versus space; universal time versus cultural time; singular time versus typified, generalized, pre-categorized time.

But in the function I seek to give to the idea of universal structure of all the lived experiences, I’m not trying to situate myself in relation to these oppositions. I position myself upstream in a first opposition between the structure of experienced versus the content of lived experiences. The content of all lived experience involves temporality, spatiality, the subjective assessment of each of these dimensions. I stand, for my part, in a point of « external » view that takes the structure of the lived experience as an object, an abstraction.

 

To do so, we must distinguish the point of view of the subject from the one of the researcher / practitioner who conducts the interview.

When I develop the idea of the universal structure of lived experience with a strong emphasis on the temporal dimension, I am located in the point of view of the researcher / interviewer, which aims to document the detailed description of the experience of a finalized action.

 

Checklist for the interviewer during the interview

The idea of universal structure then acts as a reminder which, at every moment of the interview allows to identify what is said at its position on the time frame of the living experience and at the same time, what is not said in reference to the inevitable time sequence in which every lived experience is registered.

 

It is not a temporal structure based on the length, but on the articulation of different times specifict to each action, to each micro action: the beginning, marked by an information outlet that guides action and pre organizes it, the realization that accomplishes the action, the end marked by a taking of information that evaluates the results and prepares the transition to the next action. This is true of a complete action (prepare an apple pie [1]),but as a fractal structure, it is still true for actions that compose it (weigh butter and flour, prepare the apples etc.), but also true for micro actions which allow the weighing (take butter with an instrument, measure the amount, deposit), even true for micro micro actions (action to take butter on a tablet), and even thinner yet (how I seize the knife to make the move) and more if necessary. The granularity of questioning and relaunching will allow to go down to the useful detail levelf, that is to say: the one that allows to understand the success or failure of the action. Besides these material actions, at the same time, unfold thoughts, judgments, personal activities, emotions, beliefs, one or more co-identities, each of these « lived layers » require to be taken in account on an additional questioning. And each of these layers is necessarily indexed to the time sequence structure. The intimate and subjective dimension of the lived experience qualities are captured and indexed in the frame of the universal temporal structure, including, if it is the case, the assessment of subjective temporal qualities.

The constant awareness of this universal temporal structure is one of the essential tools for the listening of the explicitation interview in order to guide the questioning, and improve the description. No subject can do it by himself, without help, or without a prior learning (learning of self-explicitation). But we must understand that the explicitation interview does not seek to guide a verbalization in a such structured way from the beginning to the end of the singular experience, but it adapts continually as the information is verbalized, to complete what is said. This means that the interview takes place on the basis of spontaneously proposed materials by bouncing to detail them in order to extend the necessary exploration of the just after or just before, or return to some missing time. The spontaneous order of description does not match the order of the lived experience. To understand the lived experience, we need restore it from the « disorder » of its temporal description. This is particularly true for research, while for a teacher, for example, in his questioning in connection with the completion of an exercice, he will synthetize as the student works, to be able to intervene then, or verify that the student is well aware of how he did it.

 

In research: organization of the transcriptons of the verbalized descriptions.

So this universal structure of lived temporality will also be most important for the preparation of the analysis of interview transcripts. After carefully transcribe the interview, one of the key steps is to restore in order every moment in succession of the past lived, even if that information on this point could be obtained at any time of the interview. Note that no computer program can automatically perform this setting time sequence of verbalization, it must necessarily be done by hand. The current text analysis programs know very well how to make lexical statistics, extract themes, but cannot automatically reconstruct the temporal sequence of the lived experience from its verbalization.

 

Contents lived

All the questions you ask concern the different points of views between structure and content of the lived experience. What you cite reports of subjective properties of the lived experience, whether be the spatial information of each outlet or the verbal expression in its metaphorical dimension, or the multiple forms of subjective temporal apprehension, or also of all possible lived layers (emotion, action, body, beliefs, identities). And of course, these properties are important in reference to the aim pursued in research (one never seeks to document all living properties). But whatever these properties, they manifest themselves and fall inexorably in a time sequence. By analogy, a piece of music can have different tempi, slow motion, acceleration, pauses, reversals, transpositions, voice overlays, landslides, but the fact remains that execution takes place necessarily in the context of the universal temporal structure and that each of these shades is at a time of the structure, as one or several musician realize it. And if I want to help to verbalize these micro times, the interviewed must be guided, kept in contact with each of the past lived moments. In my research framework, when I have a subjective term that is not connected to a specified lived moment, I do not know how is embodied what is said, may be it is just an opinion , a representation, a comment …

Thus, as part of the colloquium, it was commented the example of a night watchman who says « the night is long » ; from my point of view this statement is a judgment. Alone, it is meaningless: on what occasion, when, in his work, that judgment comes to him? What are the criteria that lead him to describe it as « long »? Research mobilizing explicitation interview never aims to directly verbalize the opinions, judgments, representations, or generalizations. On the other hand, it is clear that from the description of the course of action it is possible to know what are the immanent representations, those actually embodied. During a research with students teachers in physical education, a trainee gave himself the aim « to engage all the students, » as the basis of his pedagogical values. But the description of what he had done at a specific time (not in general), showed that he had only discipline! The values embodied by his actions did not reflect his verbalized values. The primacy of the reference to the action (and therefore its development) that characterizes the explicitation interview is based on the concern of how subjectivity is embodied, not just how it is thought of.

 

 

1] I choose a material action as an example, just because it is easier to visualize and follow, but the approach is the same for a mental action: reading, problem solving remembering activity, etc …

 

 

 

Print Friendly

The universal structure of all lived experiences (continued)

by Pierre Vermersch
The universal structure of all lived experiences (continued)

Perspective of the researcher and point of view of the subject: structure and content of the lived experience.
Answering a question from C. Delavergne, (I added numbers) : »1 / You quote the temporal structure as universal. You do not mention the spatial dimension. However, in your speech you use terms like space « layers », « place » …

2 /Yet, temporal perceptions also differ across cultures (cyclic perception, arrow of time, monochromy, polychromy ….)  »

3 / Also, we all trend to patterning (Schutz), this temporal structure « routine », incorporated action schemes « I do this, and then that » insinuating « as usual » or « always” , and also this ability to describe a situation, giving to it a typical plot structure, generalizing, to format a singular lived experience in this structure. In this case, the temporal structure is present, but is typified, and does not describe what was experienced.

I suppose that this also belongs to universal temporal structure …?

4 / But even in these situations called « routine », it happens differently as there are still micro « events » and micro decisions to take.
The identification of « qualitative temporal structures » is the one of the change of “granulation”, moving or reorienting the landmarks of the start and the end?
=================================

Initially, these issues seem to deal with simple oppositions: time versus space; universal time versus cultural time; singular time versus typified, generalized, pre-categorized time.

But in the function I seek to give to the idea of universal structure of all the lived experiences, I’m not trying to situate myself in relation to these oppositions. I position myself upstream in a first opposition between the structure of experienced versus the content of lived experiences. The content of all lived experience involves temporality, spatiality, the subjective assessment of each of these dimensions. I stand, for my part, in a point of « external » view that takes the structure of the lived experience as an object, an abstraction.

 

To do so, we must distinguish the point of view of the subject from the one of the researcher / practitioner who conducts the interview.

When I develop the idea of the universal structure of lived experience with a strong emphasis on the temporal dimension, I am located in the point of view of the researcher / interviewer, which aims to document the detailed description of the experience of a finalized action.

 

Checklist for the interviewer during the interview

The idea of universal structure then acts as a reminder which, at every moment of the interview allows to identify what is said at its position on the time frame of the living experience and at the same time, what is not said in reference to the inevitable time sequence in which every lived experience is registered.

 

It is not a temporal structure based on the length, but on the articulation of different times specifict to each action, to each micro action: the beginning, marked by an information outlet that guides action and pre organizes it, the realization that accomplishes the action, the end marked by a taking of information that evaluates the results and prepares the transition to the next action. This is true of a complete action (prepare an apple pie [1]),but as a fractal structure, it is still true for actions that compose it (weigh butter and flour, prepare the apples etc.), but also true for micro actions which allow the weighing (take butter with an instrument, measure the amount, deposit), even true for micro micro actions (action to take butter on a tablet), and even thinner yet (how I seize the knife to make the move) and more if necessary. The granularity of questioning and relaunching will allow to go down to the useful detail levelf, that is to say: the one that allows to understand the success or failure of the action. Besides these material actions, at the same time, unfold thoughts, judgments, personal activities, emotions, beliefs, one or more co-identities, each of these « lived layers » require to be taken in account on an additional questioning. And each of these layers is necessarily indexed to the time sequence structure. The intimate and subjective dimension of the lived experience qualities are captured and indexed in the frame of the universal temporal structure, including, if it is the case, the assessment of subjective temporal qualities.

The constant awareness of this universal temporal structure is one of the essential tools for the listening of the explicitation interview in order to guide the questioning, and improve the description. No subject can do it by himself, without help, or without a prior learning (learning of self-explicitation). But we must understand that the explicitation interview does not seek to guide a verbalization in a such structured way from the beginning to the end of the singular experience, but it adapts continually as the information is verbalized, to complete what is said. This means that the interview takes place on the basis of spontaneously proposed materials by bouncing to detail them in order to extend the necessary exploration of the just after or just before, or return to some missing time. The spontaneous order of description does not match the order of the lived experience. To understand the lived experience, we need restore it from the « disorder » of its temporal description. This is particularly true for research, while for a teacher, for example, in his questioning in connection with the completion of an exercice, he will synthetize as the student works, to be able to intervene then, or verify that the student is well aware of how he did it.

 

In research: organization of the transcriptons of the verbalized descriptions.

So this universal structure of lived temporality will also be most important for the preparation of the analysis of interview transcripts. After carefully transcribe the interview, one of the key steps is to restore in order every moment in succession of the past lived, even if that information on this point could be obtained at any time of the interview. Note that no computer program can automatically perform this setting time sequence of verbalization, it must necessarily be done by hand. The current text analysis programs know very well how to make lexical statistics, extract themes, but cannot automatically reconstruct the temporal sequence of the lived experience from its verbalization.

 

Contents lived

All the questions you ask concern the different points of views between structure and content of the lived experience. What you cite reports of subjective properties of the lived experience, whether be the spatial information of each outlet or the verbal expression in its metaphorical dimension, or the multiple forms of subjective temporal apprehension, or also of all possible lived layers (emotion, action, body, beliefs, identities). And of course, these properties are important in reference to the aim pursued in research (one never seeks to document all living properties). But whatever these properties, they manifest themselves and fall inexorably in a time sequence. By analogy, a piece of music can have different tempi, slow motion, acceleration, pauses, reversals, transpositions, voice overlays, landslides, but the fact remains that execution takes place necessarily in the context of the universal temporal structure and that each of these shades is at a time of the structure, as one or several musician realize it. And if I want to help to verbalize these micro times, the interviewed must be guided, kept in contact with each of the past lived moments. In my research framework, when I have a subjective term that is not connected to a specified lived moment, I do not know how is embodied what is said, may be it is just an opinion , a representation, a comment …

Thus, as part of the colloquium, it was commented the example of a night watchman who says « the night is long » ; from my point of view this statement is a judgment. Alone, it is meaningless: on what occasion, when, in his work, that judgment comes to him? What are the criteria that lead him to describe it as « long »? Research mobilizing explicitation interview never aims to directly verbalize the opinions, judgments, representations, or generalizations. On the other hand, it is clear that from the description of the course of action it is possible to know what are the immanent representations, those actually embodied. During a research with students teachers in physical education, a trainee gave himself the aim « to engage all the students, » as the basis of his pedagogical values. But the description of what he had done at a specific time (not in general), showed that he had only discipline! The values embodied by his actions did not reflect his verbalized values. The primacy of the reference to the action (and therefore its development) that characterizes the explicitation interview is based on the concern of how subjectivity is embodied, not just how it is thought of.

 

 

1] I choose a material action as an example, just because it is easier to visualize and follow, but the approach is the same for a mental action: reading, problem solving remembering activity, etc …

 

 

 

Print Friendly

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée.