Embodied Research: A Scholarly Panel

This panel on recent research and scholarship was presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of THE SOCIETY FOR PHENOMENOLOGY AND THE HUMAN SCIENCES (SPSH) in Atlanta on October 8, 2015.

The purpose of this panel was to share a conceptual model and experiential methods for incorporating embodiment into scholarship and research. Phenomenological literature abounds with references for the need to affirm the sentient body through reflection and exploration. To ground the theoretical in the flesh, scholars need to integrate embodiment in their topics, their subjects, and themselves in the course of conducting research (Todres, 2007). As a practical matter, scholars agree that empirical research would benefit from more attention to bodily experience (Finlay, 2006). But “how to” guides for bringing the body into the research process are limited (e.g. Sharma, Reimer-Kirkham, & Cochrane, 2009) and leave investigators lacking specific techniques with inevitable gaps remain between theory and practice.

This panel’s presentations were orchestrated to prompt interaction, to blend mentally conjured framework with corporeal enactment. The first segment presented a conceptual model based on Stages of Change theory (Prochaska, Norcross, & DiClemente, 2013) suggesting that research follows similar intersecting phases. Within that model, the subsequent three segmentsl engaged a purpose to embodied research: a) to honor the body-based subject matter, b) to integrate the bodily perceptions into data collection, and c) to own somatic experience through the research process as a vehicle to deeper understanding and transformation.

This panel was presented collaboratively inviting experiential elements, interaction and discussion.

Luann Fortune, Phd, MA, LMT serves as faculty and administration in the School of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University and holds a fellowship at Fielding’s Institute of Social Innovation. In her practice life, she was a massage therapist and wellness consultant for 20 yrs.

Also presenting with Luann:

Stephanie Lindsay, PhD, faculty, Saybrook University, slindsay@saybrook.edu

Ann Ritter, doctoral student, Fielding Graduate University, aritter@email.fielding.edu

Clifford Smyth, MS, doctoral student, Saybrook University, csmyth@saybrook.edu


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