FRAL - Appel Franco-allemand en sciences humaines et sociales

Self in Recovery: a phenomenological perspective on schizophrenia – SelfRecovery

Submission summary

The project addresses the process of recovery in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs). The aim of the proposed research is to design a conceptual heuristical framework capable of describing what it is like to recover from SSDs, what processes are in play in recovery and what are their conditions of possibility. Based on a phenomenological framework, we focus on experiential recovery. In such a perspective the question of recovery from SSDs is related to the central notion of the self. It has been argued that SSDs can be phenomenologically described as self-disorders or ipseity disturbances. The most central aspects of such disturbances manifest themselves as diminished self-affection, hyperreflexivity and a loss of the subject’s hold or grip on the world and on their own experience. In the light of the current understanding of SSDs as ipseity disturbances, the phenomenology of recovery should account for the possibility for the self to reestablish its hold on the world and on their own experience. How is it possible for a disturbed self to re-establish itself as a self-coincident member of society, to reappropriate and reformulate their own identity in order to inhabit the world? It is to these issues that our research proposes to seek answers with the aid of theoretical phenomenology and phenomenological inspired qualitative research. The methodology of this interdisciplinary project will be twofold. On the one hand, we will conduct a phenomenological analysis of a philosophical type that will allow us to identify the operative concepts of the scientific and philosophical literature that allow us to describe ipseity. On the other hand we will conduct several qualitative surveys to explore the singular way people recover. We will use qualitative interview methods inspired by phenomenology (IPA, IPSE, PGQR) and methods from cultural anthropology (go-along, focus group). This will offer a description of what it is like to live with a disturbed self and what it is like to recover (this step corresponds to a static analysis). The second step focuses on the processes in play in ipseity disturbances and in recovery grasping these experiences in their temporal unfolding. The description of these processes calls for a genetic approach in phenomenology. Finally, the third step thematizes pre- or a- subjective structures that make it possible for the self to recover. This step focuses on the intersubjective, narrative and institutional background that functions as a transcendental support for the emergence and the institutions of ipseity. The method here to be applied is generative phenomenology. With this threefold approach, we aim to investigate the processes in play in recovery comparing them to those in function in the ontogeny of the self and the institutions of its narrative, imaginative and social identities. We expect that this will lead to the emergence, inductively, of innovative strategies that can then be transferred to care protocols.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


BUW Institut für Transzendentalphilosophie und Phänomenologie, Bergischen Universität Wuppertal

Help of the ANR 870,869 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2023 - 36 Months

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