Soon to be Released: Contemplative Social Research

Contemplative Social Research, edited by Valerie Bentz and Vincenzo Giorgino (University of Turin), brings together 11 chapters from scholars around the world on theories of self, mind, culture, and society. The University of Lodz, the University of Basque Country, the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona as well as Drexel, Claremont, Saybrook University, and U. of Pennsylvania are some of the institutions represented in this important work.

Dr. Fortune’s chapter is titled Retracing the Labyrinth: Phenomenology for Embodied Interpretation.  It is based on her experience conducting phenomenological research on embodied topics in an embodied approach.

Publication is due for release in November 2016.Publishers website:

Here is a brief summary of the chapter:

 This chapter describes how, in the course of conducting phenomenologically based research, I was able to tap into a fuller range of whole body insights. I reoriented the phenomenological stage of imaginative variation by using labyrinth walking to inform my interpretation.  As a researcher concerned with bodily topics as well as process, my work intentionally includes concrete techniques geared to collect embodied data.  While conducting applied phenomenology study, I strive to structure my framework to include somatic techniques.  Yet in one such study, I found that somatically geared data collection alone failed to reveal the full depth of the findings.  Including labyrinth walking to support my analysis opened up a fuller range of somatic awareness in conjunction with somatic and spiritual awareness.

This account is based on my research that investigated the work experience of massage therapists; the full results are published elsewhere. Using the physicality of a labyrinth and the principles of walking it, I literally took another turn with the data during analysis and interpretation.  Here I describe how attending to my own somatic markers resulted in a deeper phenomenological interpretation of my data.  By combining interpretation with labyrinth walking, I produced findings that were more embodied in the research question, the participants, and their life-world.  In addition, the outcome was vastly more satisfying for me as the researcher.

Keywords: embodiment, qualitative, research techniques, somatic


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