Embodied methodologies are found in ethnography and anthropology, notably in the work of Thomas Csordas and Meredith B. Mcguire.
McGuire describes an interview she made while researching attitudes of farmwomen in rural Ireland. Both Mcguire and the interviewee were mothers, and McGuire was nursing her child as they spoke. McGuire describes how she related to the other woman. She felt "the sheer physicality of our mutual understanding. We understood each other, not only cognitively or emotionally, but also with our bodies...I remember this moment now with my body/mind, not just mentally ..." (McGuire 2002).
This relates to other forms of embodied cognition; the social habitus of Pierre Bourdieu and perhaps the embodied power/knowledge of Foucault.
Csordas’s methodology of 'Cultural Phenomenology' attends to what he calls “somatic modes of attention” (Csordas, 1993). These are culturally constructed ways of understanding a situation through the body. For example in a ritual healing the healer might feel, see or hear visions that provide information about the healing process (Csordas, 1999: 151-152). Csordas wants to shift from a focus on representation to attend to 'being-in-the-world'. He describes this a progression from 'culture from the neck up' to 'the mind in the body' (Csordas, 1999: 151)
Last updated: 8 May 2008.
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