The ‘Lived Body’ and the ‘Corporeal Body’

Phenomenologists usually distinguish between the lived body and the corporeal body (e.g., Merleau-Ponty, 1945/1962). The lived body designates the body from which we live in relation to important projects that matter to us (Leder, 1990). The surface body that contains our sensory organs self-effaces so that it can put up before itself the sensory world of our lived experience of others and things. However, in moments of disruption, such as in illness, clumsiness, or exposure to the judgements of other people, the lived body becomes an object of our attention. in these moments, the body appears as the corporeal body (Fuchs, 2003). The corporeal body can therefore be conceptualized as the body-subject turned toward itself as a body-object. Embarrassment and the “self conscious” emotions seem to always occur within dynamics in which the lived body is momentarily reduced to the corporeal body.

Roberts, B (2006) The Unwanted Exposure of the Self: A Phenomenological Study of Embarrassment. THE HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGIST. 34(4), 321-345. Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.


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