Varieties of Consciousness under Oppression: False Consciousness, Bad Faith, Double Consciousness, and Se faire objet

In S. West Gurley & Geoff Pfeifer (eds.), Phenomenology and the Political. Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 149-63 (2016)
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What it would mean for phenomenology to move in an ontological direction that would render its relevance to contemporary political movement less ambiguous while at the same time retaining those aspects of its method that are epistemologically and politically advantageous? The present study crafts the beginnings of a response to this question by examining four configurations of consciousness that seem to be respectively tied to certain oppressive contexts and certain kinds of oppressed bodies: 1. false consciousness, 2. bad faith, 3. double consciousness, and 4. se faire objet (making oneself an object). Such a comparison both promises to widen our understanding of the ontology of consciousness in general and generate a suggestive vision of what it would take to follow through, ontologically speaking, on the idea that consciousness is fundamentally and irrevocably of a bodily nature.

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Jennifer McWeeny
Worcester Polytechnic Institute


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