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Vol. 5 No. 5 (2022): General Issue 2022

Sharing Time in We-Experiences: A Critical Merleau-Pontian Re-Reading of Schütz’ Tuning-In Relationship

  • Rachel Elliott
February 9, 2023


Schütz’ tuning-in relationship designates sharing time as the ground of we-experiences, but the Husserlian account of time that he relies upon for this argument seems to undermine the very possibility of doing so. I argue that Merleau-Ponty’s conception of temporality offers a more plausible account of shared time via the ‘transferability’ of the body schema. Disability theorists and critical phenomenologists, however, would remind us that any account of we-experiences must recognize bodily difference. I argue that bodies of diverse motilities can come to share a body schema without risk of ‘forced time compliance’ if we jettison synchronization and embrace improvisation as a paradigm for schematic sharing: I use the example of collective free improvisation to illustrate flexible, emergent, and bidirectional body schemas that, I claim, circumvent the assimilationist tendencies looming in any account of we-experiences premised upon bodily sameness.