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Contributions to Phenomenology

Religion and Humor as Emancipating Provinces of Meaning

Authors: Barber, Michael

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  • Original description of pragmatic everyday life through intrinsic/imposed relevances, hyper-mastery, individual anxiety, social pathology, and emancipation via non-pragmatic provinces of meaning
  • First book tracing dialectic between working and non-pragmatic finite provinces in Schutz
  • First book developing the six features of the cognitive style of religious/humorous provinces
  • Original in presenting the religious “appresentative mindset,” integrating other disciplines, and showing applicability of Schutzian/phenomenological thought to concrete experience 
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-62190-6
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About this book

​This book illustrates how non-pragmatic finite provinces of meaning emancipate one from pragmatic everyday pressures. Barber portrays everyday life originally, as including the interplay between intrinsic and imposed relevances, the unavoidable pursuit of pragmatic mastery, and the resulting tensions non-pragmatic provinces can relieve. But individuals and groups also inevitably resort to meta-level strategies of hyper-mastery to protect set ways of satisfying lower-level relevances—strategies that easily augment individual anxiety and social pathologies.  

After creatively interpreting the Schutzian dialectic between the world of working and non-pragmatic provinces, Barber describes the experience of reality in the finite provinces of religion and humor. Schutz, who only mentioned these provinces, laid out the six features of the cognitive style that characterize any finite province of meaning. This book is the first to follow up on these suggestions and depict two new finite provinces of meaning beyond those in “On Multiple Realities.” While entrance into these provinces reduces everyday life tensions, it does not suffice since pragmatic relevances infiltrate the provinces, as when one uses humor to belittle competing cultural groups or one deploys religion only as an instrument to ensure crop productivity. Instead, liberation from anxieties and pathologies is brought to completion when the ego agens, the 0-point of all its coordinates, discovers its value in relation to the transcendent, even if it fails to realize its pragmatic purposes, or when one becomes comical to oneself through the eyes of another different from oneself.  

This book, aimed at advanced undergraduate, graduate, or scholarly audiences, presents stimulating analyses of the religious “appresentative mindset” or of the healing potential of interracial humor. Drawing heavily on interdisciplinary resources, the book also illustrates the relevance of phenomenological methods and concepts for concrete human experience. Barber offers a fresh understanding of pragmatic everyday life, original descriptions of the religious and humorous provinces of meaning, and a picture of how the overarching intentional stances of meaning-provinces, along with exposure to another perspective, can diminish the pressures everyday life engenders.

About the authors

Michael Barber completed his PhD at Yale University in 1985. He is Professor of Philosophy at St. Louis University, where he also held for five years the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of 6 books and over 70 articles on the phenomenology of the social world. His biography of Alfred Schutz, The Participating Citizen, won the Ballard Prize in 2007.

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Table of contents (10 chapters)
  • Introduction: An Overview of Schutz’s Work and This Work

    Pages 1-20

    Barber, Michael

  • Pragmatic Everyday Life

    Pages 23-48

    Barber, Michael

  • Communication as Paramount: Schutz’s Developing Understanding of Multiple Realities

    Pages 49-62

    Barber, Michael

  • Multiple Realities and Other Interruptions of Pragmatic Everyday Life: A Dialectic

    Pages 63-76

    Barber, Michael

  • The Finite Province of Religious Meaning: Preliminary Remarks, Tension of Consciousness, and Epoché

    Pages 79-105

    Barber, Michael

Buy this book

eBook $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-62190-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for USA in USD
Softcover $109.99
price for USA in USD
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Religion and Humor as Emancipating Provinces of Meaning
Authors
Series Title
Contributions to Phenomenology
Series Volume
91
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-62190-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-62190-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-62189-0
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-87252-0
Series ISSN
0923-9545
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 231
Topics