What Public Experience May Be – On Publicity, Communication and the Expression of Lived Experiences

Samuel Mateus (University of Madeira, Portugal)


The idea of public experience is often invoked in different social and academic contexts. However, it seldom deserved a reflection that specifically sought to deepen its meaning from the point of view of social life. In this article we contribute to the understanding of the uniqueness of the public form of experience. We believe that one of the best ways through which we can observe the public experience is by the objectification, performance and dramatization of the culture, i.e., the “expression of lived experiences”. There is, in publicity, the possibility of simultaneous allocation of individual and collective experiences, and it is in this sense that we can see how culture influences the shaping of experience itself. Public experience is characterized by the weaving and intertwining of singular experiences that are pluralized and plural lived experiences that are singularized, in a process where individual and society interpenetrate. The relationship between experience and publicity arises from this symbolic communion contained in the systems of thought and action of societies. The decisive role of the principle of publicity to experience consists, according with the hypothesis we wish to put forward, in making available and communicating the social world of symbolic (cultural) activity. Public experience is, then, envisaged as the experience of a common world where both singular and plural definitions of the individual (taken as society) converge through lived experiences and, particularly, through their expression, which can take different symbolic forms.

Article in: English

Article published: 2016-09-29

Keyword(s): Erfahrung; Erlebnis; experience; expression of lived experiences; principle of publicity; public experience; public sphere; Wilhelm Dilthey.

DOI: 10.3846/cpc.2016.255

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Coactivity: Philosophy, Communication / Santalka: Filosofija, Komunikacija ISSN 2029-6320, eISSN 2029-6339
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