Home invasions: Phenomenological and psychoanalytic reflections on embodiment relations, vulnerability, and breakdown

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History and Philosophy


Through an exploration of a home invasion scene in Ingmar Bergman's Shame, this article explores the ways in which it is not only our own bodies that are vulnerable to assault but also the meaningful objects through which we expressively engage with the world, as well as the worldly context of these embodied engagements. First, I draw primarily on the work of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in order to explore the ways in which things come to be incorporated into our bodily experience and how our vulnerability as embodied individuals is thus extended into the life of these things. Second, I engage with phenomenological accounts of home and psychoanalytic accounts of childhood development in order to argue that our extended bodily vulnerability is coextensive with our creative openness to the world. Finally, I offer some reflections on the role played by breakdown in phenomenological experience, at the level of the things through which we are “at home” to expressively extend ourselves out into the world and at the level of the sense of “homelessness” alive in the experience of anxiety.

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