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Special Issue: Outside



The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition,

and earthly nature, for all we know, may be unique in the universe

in providing human beings with a habitat in which they can move

and breathe without effort and without artifice. The human artifice

of the world separates human existence from all mere animal environment,

but life itself is outside this artificial world, and through life man remains

related to all other living organisms.

(Arendt, 1958, p. 20)


In this special issue, Phenomenology & Practice will feature original research that presents lived experiences of the outside that reveal, reconnect, reclaim, and restore what it means to be a human being out there. How is the outside experienced by those whose lives are predominantly rooted indoors or outdoors? Does there exist a taken-for-granted, beyond the doors of inner worlds? Is outside a world that is limited, foreign, and perhaps forbidden? Arendt (1978) reminds us “human beings are born into the world” (p. 174) and from the moment of our birth we make great efforts to shape our experiences. Increasingly, this shaping occurs indoors. The outdoors, out-of-doors, the outside for many in modern, urbanized society, has become removed from our everyday lives. Out-there is something seen through a doorway, window, or virtual screen. Outside becomes something many of us merely pass through or we visit temporarily, which leaves us to ask, how do we understand ourselves in relation to the outside? This question opens a phenomenological space to inquire into the experience of the outside, the out-of-doors.


A counter narrative that has made its way into mainstream media is that humans should reclaim a connection to the outdoors. These messages are positive and connected to human physical and mental well-being, increased learning for children, and enhanced spiritual acuity. Psychologists, educators, environmentalists, therapists, social workers, and many health practitioners are among the growing number of proponents currently advocating for an increased connection with the outside, or more natural world. The accumulation of these connected, but divergent messages, is that outdoors is very much a universal in our human experience. However, late modernity, in most instances, contributes to compartmentalizing the human and denying concrete connections of being in natural outside space of the world.


Society is full of distractions, the noise of living, the flashing of screens, the vibrations of incoming messages marking our social connectivity; yet, many will claim there is a pull, a call, to the outside, and natural world. For some there is a dominance that the outside seems to have over our consciousness. Many of us—adults or children—need the outdoors to make sense of our lives; this is the introspection through counterpoint. This understanding presents itself in simple life moments often regarded as fond childhood recollections—from the formative experiences and times when being outside was a common occurrence. When the outside world is re-experienced for some, what it means to be truly human is (re)-awakened. There is a re-connection to nature as a possible reminder or stirring of who we are in this world. A taken-for-granted-ness has settled into our way of being when the outdoors is weighed against the magnetic draw of technological advancements. How is the vastness of outside space, the (un)boundedness experienced when being outside is brought into consideration?


Derrida (2002) states individuals can discover inner self by going outside; then going inward by reflection to understand the body experience. The juxtaposition of inside and outside illuminates the other. One needs the other to exist (pp. 10–12). Stepping outside for the individual may be more than the physical act of stepping out into the world. Heidegger’s (1982) Dasein is a human projection of “understanding belonging to existence” (p. 278). What, then, is the lived experience for the person who steps outside the boundaries of their predominantly indoor world? What is the experience of an outside world that is strange, foreign, and other? Human control over space has allowed for micro-worlds disparate from the space of the natural world. These micro-worlds of indoors or virtual spaces, further removing us from the natural outdoor spaces of the world. Do tensions between the inside-outside exist because of our prolonged absences — our living largely indoors for extended periods of time? Does this contribute to a forgetting of a way being outside? And what is experienced by those who find themselves at home, more human in the comforts of natural spaces? For a number of people, they seek direct contact with the world removing the layers of every-day life seeking that something that is more primal.


Our perception of the outdoors in juxtaposition to the human, built environment of the indoor world, influences our daily interactions. Langeveld (1983a, 1983b) shares a phenomenological insight that interprets place as the distinction between an inner and outer world where these worlds may melt into one.

This special issue of Phenomenology & Practice is a call to attend to the everyday, prereflective call to the outdoors: “A return to the world, away from human design” in a very concrete sense. We invite submissions of full length articles (6000 words and more) that explore the multiple aspects and variations of the everyday experience of the outdoors. The experiences of the outdoors “for not only those who spend time or work in the outdoors, but also for those who may wish to explore the inherent tensions between the human built environment and the natural world.”


We also welcome shorter articles (750-2500 words) that offer brief phenomenological vignettes of experiencing the outdoors; such articles are expected to be carefully crafted and maintain a concrete, phenomenological focus throughout. Submissions must attend to the lived through quality of being outdoors, and reveal phenomenological insights through rich, evocative and coherent writing. All manuscripts should follow the journal’s guidelines, including Max van Manen’s (1997, 2014) criteria for appraising phenomenological studies.


Submissions may be sent to by January 22, 2018.




Arendt, H. (1978). The human condition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1958).

Derridia, J. (2002). Negotiations: Interventions and interviews, 1971-2001 (E.

Rottenberg, Ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.


Heidegger, M. (1982). The basic problems of phenomenology.  Bloomington: Indiana

University Press.


Langeveld, M. J. (1983a). The secret place in the life of a child. Phenomenology and

Pedagogy, 1(1), 181–191.


Langeveld, M. J. (1983b). The stillness of the secret place. Phenomenology and

Pedagogy, 1(1), 11–17.


van Manen, M. (1997). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action

sensitive pedagogy (pp. 150-153). London, Ont.: The Althouse Press.


van Manen, M. (2014). Phenomenology of practice: Meaning-giving methods in

phenomenological research and writing. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.



Posted: 2017-06-08

Special Issue: On Becoming and Being a Teacher


What does it mean to become and to be a teacher in the twenty-first century? Over the past two decades, teacher education and teacher’s work in the Western world has been strongly influenced by pervasive neoliberal ideas and practices. Teachers, in all stages of their careers, can testify how the nature of their professional duties has changed dramatically due to increased bureaucratic control, increased accountability, and increased performativity—the guise of universal standards with political intentions of control. There are alarming reports of teachers choosing to leave the profession due to the growing burden of administration and documentation, and due to the increased emphasis on testing, evaluation, and inspection.


Teacher education has by no means been left unaffected by this development. Neoliberal policies have prompted a drift away from theoretical "know-why" knowledge as the common knowledge base for all teachers. Consequently, teacher education has been transformed into a kind of teacher training that emphasises the qualification of teachers via increased subject matter knowledge, practical behavioural know-how and the new trend of evidence-based teaching. Critics argue, however, that neoliberal reforms are based on a simplistic view of teaching and learning that not only overlooks the complexities involved in the everyday teacher-student interaction, but also restricts teacher’s opportunities to participate in educational decision-making. Taken together, the consequences of the neoliberal turn call for a deeper and more complex understanding of teacher’s work.


In this Special Issue of Phenomenology and Practice, we call for papers that explore what it is like to become and to be a teacher in our time. We invite papers that focus on the lives of teachers in different educational contexts, ranging from teachers in pre-school settings to teachers in higher education institutions. We also call for papers that focus on the process of becoming  a teacher ­and how it unfolds in various educational settings, such as formal teacher preparation programs or informal professional learning environments.We look forward to sharing papers in this Special Issue that explore teacher’s everyday work and the endeavour of becoming a teacher through several “lived through” dimensions—lived time (temporality); lived space (spatiality); lived body (corporeality); and lived human relations (intersubjectivity)­—to bring about thick descriptions that capture the complexities and ambiguities involved. The overall aim of the Special Issue is to contribute to the understanding of what it meansto become and to be a teacher in our time.

All manuscripts should follow P&P’s guidelines, including Max van Manen’s (1997, 2014) criteria for appraising phenomenological studies. Recommended length: 6000 words. Submissions should be sent to Magnus Levinsson and Andrew Foran by May 15, 2018.


Posted: 2017-06-08
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