Suffering as a Political Situation: A Phenomenological Approach
Title: Suffering as a Political Situation: A Phenomenological Approach
Author: GATTA, Giunia
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2010/19
In this paper I argue that, despite resistance by many to its incorporation into public discourse, suffering is a constitutive element of politics today, both a consequence of and a motive for political action. I consider some of the problems attending the incorporation of suffering as a subject of political discussion and I propose a phenomenological approach to address some of these problems. This approach is based on the notion of situation, which allows for a contextual reading of suffering as an intrinsically relational experience encompassing multiple differently situated perspectives. Drawn from Karl Jaspers’ writings on psychiatry, this approach focuses on empathic listening to the claims of differently situated selves, and is rooted in awareness of our own situation.
Subject: Suffering; Arendt; Jaspers; Camus; The Plague; private/public
Type of Access: openAccess