- Shaping the subject of incontinence. Relating experience to knowledge
- Alter : European Journal of Disability Research = Journal Européen de Recherche sur le Handicap
- Volume | Issue number
- 10 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In this paper, we empirically analyse the role of experience and its relation to knowledge by working through a case study of a website for people with incontinence. The term "knowledge by experience" may be confusing if experience is framed as "situations someone has lived through" which then come to function as the foundation for experiential knowledge. Foundationalist framing of experiential knowledge leads to problems of "indistinctness", "incontestability" and "authenticity" of experiential knowledge. The analysis shows how participants structure and process their experiences, for example by collecting, relating and reviewing individual moments and actively interpreting them. Not every experience counts as valid input for "knowledge". We suggest that in relation to knowledge "experience" is better understood as "having experience with" rather than as "having lived through" something. Experience as "being experienced" is then not something that "grounds" experiential knowledge, but takes the shape of know-how, interpretive possibilities and skills that are not exclusively tied to a particular subject. Interpreting experiential knowledge like this specifies it as a form of practical knowledge that may be contested by (more) experienced others and can be transferred to others still trying to master skills. These skills may help in an attempt to shape experience in new ways.
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