What is lived experience?

It has been a while since I blogged, I have been distracted by my upgrade corrections and beginning new chapters on acoustics and literature reviews.

I began this blog a few months ago while I was in Chicago. I realised that I hadn’t ever set my work in its theoretical context and specifically avoided defining what I meant by lived experience. Today I have been updating my profiles on various websites and this blog and realised that since I started this blog my aims had changed and developed quite a lot and as such I needed to write a post to reflect where my thoughts were.

I had been straining to avoid defining what I thought about lived experience and I think this has been due to the attempt of avoiding linking my work too deeply with Phenomenology. This is essentially due to in my mind the somewhat “fluffy” image that phenomenology creates. While I agree that as archaeologists we do need to consider the experiential aspects of sites but as Stephen Murray stated we need to “reconciling our experiential responses with the task of dealing with buildings as entities that can go beyond the written document in providing vital access to the past.” (Murray 2008: 383).

For this thesis it is taken to mean how people understand the world around them, not based on some preconceived scheme but through experience: how they move, their activities, everyday paths and places and memory. This means that the documentary and physical evidence are not enough, because the past is subjective, memory: both personal and inherited are important.

My intention is to use digital technologies as a mechanism for visualising and auralising these experiences while using the reflecting ways of thinking about lived experience to critique the results.

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