Diaconal organizations are responsible for a significant share of health and social services in Norway. Both internally and externally they are regularly met by the question about what diakonia is and what it means to be a diaconal organization.
Through this project, I want to make a contribution to the understanding of this diaconal distinctiveness, by exploring the meaning of aesthetics in diaconal organizations.
Aesthetics will be understood through the German philosopher Gernot Böhme’s «New Aestethics», where atmosphere is regarded as the central object of knowledge. Böhme describes atmosphere as tuned spaces. Another closely related word is mood (German: Stimmung).
The understanding of aesthetics will be elaborated further through the Danish philosopher and theologian Dorthe Jørgensen and her concept metaphysics of experience. With this concept, Jørgensen brings together significant insights from philosophical aesthetics and hermeneutic phenomenology, and emphasizes our sensitive cognition – meaning our sensations, feelings and hunches – as a primary, but often ignored, source of insight.
I will conduct observations and interviews with users/patients and staff in selected diaconal organizations, while putting emphasis on the phenomenon of atmosphere, what it is and what it means, both as a universal experience and in the respective diaconal organizations. The aim is that the ph.d. project will lead to insights about the meaning of aesthetics within diaconal work.
- Diaconal Community Development (CODE)
- Research Network for Existential Phenomenology of Practice, Aalborg University. Chair: Prof. Finn Thorbjørn Hansen