Experiential Demarcation: Multidisciplinary Inquiries into the Affective Foundations of Interaction


The EDM project combines philosophy, psychology, and artistic research to investigate the experiential demarcation between self and others, by which we mean the experiential processes of e.g. establishing, recognizing, revising, and protecting one’s interpersonal boundaries.

We set out from the idea that experiential demarcation occurs simultaneously on multiple levels. As cognitive agents we know our factual boundaries. However, demarcation is also determined by bodily sensations, emotions, wishes, and desires. These are not necessarily in line with each other: affect and cognition may for instance be in tension, and in different conditions one may become dominant and overshadow the other. Human interaction thus involves a balancing between various forms and levels of demarcation. Our main hypothesis is that vitally important interpersonal boundaries emerge and are maintained first and foremost through affective interactions, which are partly conscious and partly non-conscious, partly implicit and partly observable. Simply put, we place great emphasis on the embodied and affective foundations of demarcation.

The EDM project investigates the complex and dynamic process of boundary formation between self and others, and argues from an interdisciplinary perspective that experiential demarcation is affectively grounded. The project contributes to ongoing debates concerning the foundations of human sociality and suggests ways for improving mutual dialogue and understanding.

Research group: Joona Taipale (leader), Jussi Saarinen, Sanna Tirkkonen, Heidi Fast, Petra Nyman-Salonen, Tiia-Mari Hovila


Kone Foundation
The Academy of Finland


 01/2018 - 08/2022


Philosophy, Psychology, Artistic research