Her life in Movement: Reflections on embodiment as a methodology

In this chapter, my aim is to share thoughts about the design of research and theoretical frameworks that place the bodily experience – movement - as central. In such a short amount of text I hope to merely start a conversation. The book adopts a multi-disciplinary lens, moving beyond the traditional dualism of body and mind, and incorporating the physical with the social and the psychological. <blockquote>Akinleye, A. (2015) Her life in Movement: Reflections on embodiment as a methodology chapter in Wellard, Ian Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring movement cultures, Routledge, pp.178-196</blockquote> <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Researching-Embodied-Sport-Exploring-movement-cultures/Wellard/p/book/9781138793446">Visit the Publisher</a>
Book cover - abstract image of two white threads. Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring movement cultures.

In this chapter, my aim is to share thoughts about the design of research and theoretical frameworks that place the bodily experience – movement – as central. In such a short amount of text I hope to merely start a conversation. There are three major propositions that underpin the direction of this chapter. The first is the rejection of dualist constructs of object and subject to re-place them with the idea of transaction. The second is the suggestion that communication is a partnership between listener and listened. The last is to propose that if we adopt the first two propositions and work from the perspective that we are transactional bodies (not object and Subject) and that meaning making is in the exchange, flow, partnership of interaction (communication), then we can consider inquiry into our ‘lives’ as being in the movement of betweeness – our lives are in movement. Despite a growing interest in the sociology of the body, there has to date been a lack of scholarly work addressing the embodied aspects which form a central part of our understanding and experience of sport and movement cultures. Researching Embodied Sport explores the political, social and cultural significance of embodied approaches to the study of sport, physical activities and dance. It explains how embodied approaches fit with existing theory in studies of sport and movement cultures and makes a compelling case for incorporating an embodied approach into the study of sporting practices and experience.

The book adopts a multi-disciplinary lens, moving beyond the traditional dualism of body and mind, and incorporating the physical with the social and the psychological. It applies key theories that have shaped our thinking about the body and sport, and examines both the personal, subjective experience of sporting activities and those experiences involving engagement and contact with other people, in team sports for example. The book also explores the methodological implications of ‘doing’ embodied research, particularly in terms of qualitative approaches to sports research.

Written by a team of leading international sports researchers, and packed with vivid examples from sporting contexts as diverse as surfing, fell running, korfball and disability sport, Researching Embodied Sport is fascinating reading for any advanced student or researcher working in the sociology of sport, physical cultural studies, physical education, body studies or health studies.

Citation: Akinleye, A. (2015) Her life in Movement: Reflections on embodiment as a methodology chapter in Wellard, Ian (ed.) Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring movement cultures, Routledge, pp.178-196

Contents for context within book:

(editor Ian Wellard)

1. Researching embodied sport: an introduction – Ian Wellard 

2. Post-structuralism and embodiment in sport – Håkan Larsson 

3. Bodies in the zone – Kath Woodward 

4. Embodied movements in physical education: 200 years of organising bodies in schools – Suzanne Lundvall and Peter Schantz 

5. The loneliness of the fell runner – Michael Atkinson 

6. Body as aesthetic project – Angela Pickard 

7. Isolated embodiment in the gym – Ian Wellard 

8. Embodied practices in Korfball – Laura Gubby 

9. Basketball, embodiment and the everyday – Jim Cherrington 

10. Surfing friendships and encounters in the field – Georgina Roy 

11. Being Nosey: The body as an effective but flawed tool for research – Christopher R. Matthews 

12. Researching Action Sport with a GoPro™ Camera: An embodied and emotional mobile video tale of the sea, masculinity, and men-who-surf – Clifton Evers  

13. Researching disabled sporting bodies: Reflections from an ‘able’-bodied ethnographer – James Brighton 

14. Her life in movement: reflections on embodiment as a methodology – Adesola Akinleye 

15. An overview and final thoughts – Ian Wellard