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Re: [xmca] Collective Experience vs. Individual Experience? (Help, anyone?)

Herder, as I understand him, saw collective experience as an important facet in the formation of the character of a people. I think part of the problem is that "experience" has been such a contested term, Tony. Generally it has been co-opted by Empiricism, which is by its nature individualist and by definition the philosophy of experiene, but Dewey used the word in formulating his view. But didn't he later say that he regretted using the word "experience" because it led to misunderstandings? Personally, I think /shared/ experience is the most powerful force in changing Zeitgeist and individual mninds en masse. You have an experience, and then you find that everyone else experienced the same thing and that event then becomes a central focus of your collaboration with other people. What could be more world-changing?


Tony Whitson wrote:
This query is prompted by a new book:

Peck, Don. Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and
What We Can Do About It. New York: Crown Pub., 2011.


in which the author looks more deeply into predictable ramifications of the
current economic situation than I have seen in other recent work.

Based on historical, sociological, and other literatures and modes of
research, the author argues that what we're dealing with now is not just a
wave in a recurring cycle. He predicts lasting changes that he expects to
deeply impact different generational cohorts for decades to come.

His argument is plausible, at least, to me. But it prompts me to wonder
about experience that is really collective experience, as opposed to
individual experience.

Exposing my ignorance, I realize that I can't think of literature on the
nature and structure of collective experience. It seems like there must be a
lot; but I can't think of it. It also seems like xmca is a likely place to
find people who would be interested, and would know about such literature
(although it's not on-topic in the current threads).

I'm thinking of my first earthquake experience last month as an example of
an individual experience. It was totally unlike anything I'd ever
experienced before, and it took me a few seconds to even recognize that an
earthquake is what was happening (we don't have those in Delaware). I was at
my desk, at home, by myself when it happened.
Of course, the experience was mediated after the fact from my sociocultural
awareness of earthquakes. Still, I think it was an individual experience in
the moment, compared with the collective experience that Don Peck is writing
about -- an experience of events and developments over time, in which the
experience of others participates, throughout, in the experience of any one.

I am thinking that there might be something else that could be called
"shared experience," intermediate between individual and collective

Does this make any sense? Is this question of interest to anyone? Or am I
naïvely wondering about things that have been well developed in the

I would be interested if anyone has ideas or references to share on this.

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*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857

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