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Mobilities and Phenomenology of Place, A Perspective for the Popular Narrative Studies—David Seamon’s Life Takes Place

Kim, Tae-Hee 1

1건국대학교 모빌리티인문학 연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

More than a few existing studies on popular narratives that pay attention to ‘place’ tend to adopt as their theoretical framework the celebrated distinction between space and place. According to this distinction, to put it simply, space is allegedly mobile, whereas place is static. Given this distinction, and in this age of high-mobility, where the spaces of mobilities seem to rapidly and extensively undermine the places of immobilities, would studies on popular narratives focusing on ‘place’ still remain convincing? Referring to David Seamon’s recent book Life Takes Place: Phenomenology, Lifeworlds, and Place Making, this article aims to consider the possibility of studies on popular narratives in the era of high-mobility. To explore the concept of ‘place’ through phenomenological methodology, Seamon’s book uses a theoretical framework called the ‘progressive approximation,’ which is attentive to synergistic relationality. According to this approach, the place should first be put under scrutiny as a whole, i.e. as the monad of place. Phenomenological studies on the monad of place as a whole identify places as the fundamental condition for human beings. Then, in accordance with the ‘progressive’ order of research, places are studied as dyads, i.e. as binary oppositions. Through these analyses, movement/rest, insideness/outsideness, the ordinary/the extra-ordinary, the within/the without, homeworld/alienworld are identified as the five dyads of place. To make a detour around these binary oppositions and confrontations, however, phenomenological studies on place now advance to the higher order of six place triads including place interaction, place identity, place release, place realization, place intensification, and place creation, whereby the study of place progressively approaches the ‘approximate’ essence of place. Reflectively asking himself about the idea of ‘place’ in the high-mobility era, the author of this informative and insightful book submits an answer that place is still the fundamental sine qua non of human beings. However, this answer is more likely to be bounded by the binary opposition of space/place, and movement/rest accordingly. In this article, I suggest as an alternative and hopefully more promising answer a perspective of transcending this kind of a dead-end dichotomy and of performing ‘place-making’ through the mobilities themselves, while presenting a noticeable example of the manner in which research on popular narratives could begin from this perspective.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.