The community’s two bodies: incorporation and incarnation in the political phenomenology of Marc Richir

Document Type : Original Article


Bergische Universiät Wuppertal


In this paper I present some elements of Marc Richir's political phenomenology. Drawing from the Husserlian distinction between Leib and Körper, as well as from the ontology of the flesh sketched in the last works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Richir proposed a novel reading of the relation between phenomenology, the social and the political. His project is built upon the distinction between incarnation and incorporation, two forms of embodiment that, while corresponding to the two ways of experiencing One's own body noted by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, concern not only the embodied subject but also the individuation of the social body. This approach can be read as a radically embodied inquiry into the social and the political that constitutes a phenomenological critique of identitarian essentialism and disembodied universalism. In the first section of the article I explain the role played by intersubjectivity, asubjectivity and embodiment in Richir's understanding of the process of phenomenalization. The second section is dedicated to his elaborations on the joint sensemaking of the ipse and the community, articulated around the distinction between incarnation and incorporation. In the final section I outline a possible application of the concepts developed by Richir to the contemporary debate around identity-based politics.


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