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Embodied Self-Reflexivity
Social Psychology Quarterly
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: n.d.
Pages: 265-283
Library/Archive: Copyright © 2009 American Sociological Association
Sources ID: 21821
Visibility: Private
Abstract: (Show)
Drawing on G. H. Mead and Merleau-Ponty, this paper aims to extend our understanding of self-reflexivity beyond the notion of a discursive, abstract, and symbolic process. It offers a framework for embodied self-reflexivity, which anchors the self in the reflexive capacity of bodily sensations. The data consist of two years of ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews of vipassana meditation practitioners in Israel and the United States. The findings illustrate how bodily sensations are used as indexes to psychological states, emotions, and past experiences, while constant awareness of embodied responses is used as a tool for self-monitoring. The paper follows the interaction between discursive and embodied modes of reflexivity and the attempt to shift from one mode to the other. I suggest that currently popular practices of embodied awareness, from meditation to yoga, are based on embodied self-reflexivity and are part of the postindustrial culture of self-awareness.