Human Studies

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 623–641 | Cite as

A Theory of Affective Communication: On the Phenomenological Foundations of Perspective Taking

  • Christian JulmiEmail author
Theoretical/Philosophical Paper


Although some scholars acknowledge the decisive role of the felt body in the process of perspective taking, the precise role of the felt body remains unclear. In this paper, a theory of affective communication is developed in order to explain and understand the process of perspective taking in human interaction on a corporeal, pre-reflective and thus affective level. The key assumption of the outlined theory is that any process of perspective taking is essentially based on the two dimensions of the felt body, namely (1) attraction and repulsion, (2) dominance and subdominance. The dimension of attraction and repulsion determines whether individuals (or groups) attractively converge or repulsively diverge in their perspectives. Regarding the dimension of dominance and subdominance, it is assumed that there is always a dominant and a subdominant side in human interaction. In the case of attraction as a necessary condition for finding common ground, the dominant side serves as the perspective giver and the subdominant side serves as the perspective taker. The outlined theory is phenomenologically based on the works of Schmitz and Rappe and marks a contribution to the research program of neophenomenological sociology.


Affect Perspective taking Corporeal communication Hermann Schmitz Guido Rappe Neophenomenological sociology 



This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, insb. Organisation und Planung, Fakultät für WirtschaftswissenschaftFernUniversität in HagenHagenGermany

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