Phenomenology of Practice: Meaning-Giving Methods in Phenomenological Research and Writing


Phenomenology of Practice offers an extensive exploration of phenomenological traditions and methods for the human sciences. The phrase, phenomenology of practice, refers to the meaning and practice of phenomenology in professional contexts such as pedagogy, health care, education, and psychology, as well as to the practice of phenomenological reflection in contexts of everyday living. This 400 page book presents a detailed description of key phenomenological ideas as they have evolved over the past century. It makes understandable what is meant by the phenomenological epoché, the various forms of the reduction, and the notion of the vocative, the example, the image, the anecdote, and the poetic in the textual practice of writing. It thoughtfully works through the methodological issues of phenomenological reflection and empirical methods that a phenomenology of practice offers to meaningful inquiry into the meanings of lived experience. This comprehensive text is of practical and theoretical interest to

all concerned with the interrelationship between being and acting, thoughtfulness and tact, meaning and method in human sciences research and in everyday life.


To order:


The Tact of Teaching: The Meaning of Pedagogical Thoughtfulness


The Tact of Teaching is an interpretive explication of the meaning of pedagogy and the pedagogical relation adults and young people, as a relation sui generis. Distinctions are made between pedagogical situations, relations, and actions. Good teaching (and parenting) is difficult since it is improvisational, normative, and pedagogical: Improvisational since good teaching requires instant action; normative in the sense that pedagogy always requires distinguishing between what is appropriate and less appropriate in one’s action with children; pedagogical in that all action presumes the virtue of a pedagogical tactfulness. Using reflective, anecdotal discourse, The Tact of Teaching explicates the meaning of pedagogical moments, the conditions of pedagogy, the relation between pedagogy and politics, the nature of pedagogical experience, and the practical forms of pedagogical action.

Also available in: Norwegian, Spanish, Chinese.



Childhood’s Secrets: Intimacy, Privacy, and the Self Reconsidered

Max van Manen and Bas Levering

This exploration of secrecy aims to overturn prevailing views of secrets as undesirable or unhealthy social and psychological phenomena. It looks at the positive aspects of secrecy and identifies it as a crucial part of human development.

Also available in: Dutch, Brazil, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Chinese.








Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive Pedagogy

Researching Lived Experience is an introductory text on phenomenological writing. Through detailed methodological explications and practical examples of hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry, it shows how to orient oneself to human (pedagogical) experience and how to construct a questioning inquiry which evokes a fundamental sense of wonder, and it provides a broad and systematic set of approaches for gaining experiential material. Special attention is paid to the methodological function of anecdotal narrative in human science research, and approaches are offered for structuring the phenomenological text in relation to the particular kinds of questions being studied. Finally, it is argued that the choice of research method not only is itself a pedagogical commitment, but also reveals how one stands pedagogically in life.

Also available in: Korean and Chinese.


Writing in the Dark: Phenomenological Studies in Interpretive Inquiry

Writing in the Dark brings together a wide range of studies of relevance to qualitative researchers and professional practitioners. Each chapter is an example of how a different kind of human experience may be explored, and how the methods used for investigating phenomena may contribute to the process of human understanding. Max van Manen provides the opening and closing chapters for the book, and also an introduction to each selection. The authors are all accomplished professionals in their respective fields; they show how the challenge of doing qualitative research can be pursued through the process of inquiry, reflection and writing. The sixteen chapters offer the reader compelling insights into topics of concern to education, health science, clinical psychology, information technology, the designing arts, pedagogy, and related dimensions of everyday life. Writing in the dark is a valuable and rich resource for people who would like to learn more about phenomenological reflection and writing.


The Tone of Teaching


The Tone of Teaching

This popular book for parents and teachers is now republished in a second edition, revised and updated. The author defines sound pedagogy as the ability to distinguish effectively between what is appropriate, and what is less appropriate, in our communications and dealings with children and young people. He shows how tactful educators develop a caring attentiveness to the unique; to the uniqueness of children and to their uniqueness of individual lives. He describes how this “tone” of teaching can be sustained by the cultivation of a certain kind of seeing, listening, and responding to each child in each particular situation.

Also available in: English (First Edition) and Japanese.