On Dwelling: Poetry, Place, and Politics unfolds the meaning of dwelling as both being in the world, and being on the earth with others. Dennis E. Skocz traces a path from the places we call home, through the global market place (said to foster a “world without borders”), to the planet we co-inhabit. The book addresses themes of displacement, contested space, and estrangement along with specific issues like migration, ethnic division, and resource use. Embracing the discourses of poetry, philosophy, and politics the book uses a cross-disciplinary approach to tackle the diversity and complexity of the topic. The investigation is grounded in phenomenology, with economics, jurisprudence, political theory, geo-physics, cultural anthropology, and other sciences coming into play. It builds on first-person “lived experience” and the “lifeworld” as a concrete basis for understanding. Challenged by real-world issues of co-existence, the book culminates in sketching a “political space” where stakeholders in the future of the planet can collaborate across the globe for the earth and its dwellers.
Dennis E. Skocz holds a PhD in philosophy from Duquesne University and works at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C.
Part I. Dwelling: The Testimony of Poets
Chapter 1: Prairie and City: The Poetry of Carl Sandburg
Chapter 2. Property and the Land: Xenophon and Frost
Chapter 3. Nature and Democracy: Whitman’s New World Metaphysics
Part II. Phenomenologies of Place
Chapter 4. Property and Home: Mine and Thine
Chapter 5. On the Road with Herodotus: The Strange, the Familiar, and the Earthbound
Chapter 6. Nature and the Wild
Part III. The Politics of Place and Displacement
Chapter 7. The Perils of Comfortable Estrangement: A Micro-Phenomenology
Chapter 8. Whose Land Is It Anyway? Xenophobe and Alien Foe
Chapter 9. Wall Street and Main Street in Schutzian Perspective
Part IV. The “Big Picture”: A Whole-Earth View
Chapter 10. From Market Place to “Marketspace”
Chapter 11. Body-Mapping and the Anthropocene
Chapter 12. Earthling or Cosmopolitan? The Limits and Prospects of Interlocution
Dennis Skocz's On Dwelling: Poetry, Place, and Politics demonstrates the diverse resources of phenomenology to address a broad range of issues. Poetic dwelling, exhibited in the work of Sandburg, Frost, Xenophon, and Whitman, bestows meaning on underlying notions of space. Skocz intriguingly explores how Whitman’s poetry can undo the polarizations at the time of the United States Civil War by highlighting the shared beauty of the national landscape. Skocz reveals phenomenology’s spatial underpinnings, with Husserlian localized ownness opening to intersubjectivity, with Herodotus appreciating others in their spatial context, and with humanity being engaged with nature as an independent dialogic partner. Skocz analyzes xenophobia, which manifests the tension between localized and the abstract—which the Schutzian phenomenology of Consociates and Contemporaries illuminates; and he situates within this same tension the contrasts between Main Street and Wall Street. This polarity between the local and universal overflows into discussions of globalization and the contrasts between earthly and the cosmopolitan, both of which call for interlocution between representative of the poles at odds with each other. Besides showing the richness of phenomenology, this book displays remarkable multidisciplinary scope, encompassing philosophy, poetry, history, social science, economics, and ethics in a comprehensive synthesis
On Dwelling is an ambitious meditation on humankind’s relationship to the earth that it lives upon and the world that it has created. Drawing from a variety of Western sources and disciples, Dennis Skocz tries to think through what it means to dwell on Earth in the Anthropocene. His thoughts will certainly inspire animated discussions about the topics examined. The reader may feel a little less comfortable after engaging this work—and that is a good thing.