Earlier chapters reviewed hermeneutic philosophy and practice theories aiming not only to point out their parallel theses but also to argue for their synthesis in a hermeneutic practices perspective. A third chapter sought to review hermeneutic marketing studies from this horizon of understanding. In the present chapter, we reflect on psychology’s Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), suggesting that its thematic studies of research participants’ narratives be integrated as establishing the latter’s presenting hermeneutic practices, shaped by necessary features of understanding life. We can see—following textual concerns of earlier chapters—a wide-ranging literacy in people’s ‘reading’ experience, their anticipatory prefiguring, articulating or configuring narrative, subsequently being refigured or interpreted through application to personal circumstance in a storied sense-making.
IPA, from the first, acknowledged its underwriting as qualitative psychology by hermeneutic philosophy. A focus on practices would enable IPA to bring the hermeneutic spatio-temporal model of generic understanding informing practices to bear on coming to terms with participant narrative. In this chapter, we consider how people recounting their stories (often of difficulty) can be viewed as referring to embodied generic understanding-in-use of equipment, emplacing (or putting in place) evaluative ‘horizons’ or perspectives on that behaviour, seen distantly in retrospective reflection. A recollected practice (e.g. of caring) contains implicit reference to constraint and enablements shaped by embodied social role with its shared generic rules and directives for competent enactment. In so far as IPA is underwritten by hermeneutic philosophy offering a ‘horizon of understanding’, we can accept ‘when we are trying to understand another person or a text, we need to have some idea of the horizon in which the subject matter is intelligible to the author or speaker’ (Vessey, 2009: 539).