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Understanding the fleshiness of knowing: Sensory ethnography as a way of examining teaching and knowing in physical education
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2012 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses research about how knowing and teaching is formed as part of the physical activity of skateboarding. Through a four-year project in educations sciences focusing on the cross-roads of mind, body, place and learning, the sensory ethnography approach (Pink 2009) made it possible to explore how knowing was expressed by skateboard coaches in their teaching. The semi-structured character of skateboarding contributed with a setting were the moving body is central, but without the formalized educational framework. To begin with, this methodological approach foregrounded how perception and the senses were involved but also showed the need to go beyond the five-sense sensorium, particularly in relation to understanding the process of teaching and knowing balance and explosiveness, which are both crucial for skateboarding proficiency. Moreover, this research revealed the implications of reflective auto-ethnographic elements in the process of field-work. As a researcher it became apparent how this sensory embeddedness not only informed the research participants’ teaching and knowing, but also my own way of understanding the fleshiness of knowing. In this paper I will explore more deeply the question of the researcher’s route to knowing. To develop this discussion I will build on two existing approaches to defining kinesthetic empathy (Sklar 1998; Parviainen 2003) to suggest how this concept might inform our understandings of how learning is sensory and emplaced (Fors, et al, forthcoming), as well as socio-affective (Tomkins, 1962). In doing so I address related epistemological issues regarding the moving, learning and un/knowing body (e.g. Moyal Sharrock, 2004).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
knowledge, sensory ethnography, learning, kinesthetic empathy
National Category
Social Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Child and Youth Studies with Focus on Educational Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82827OAI: diva2:572369
American Anthropological Association, 111th Annual Meeting. Borders & Crossings. San Francisco, CA. November 14-18, 2012.
Estetiska lärprocesser: Kunskap, kropp och skateboardkultur.
Swedish Research Council, 2007-4033
Available from: 2012-11-27 Created: 2012-11-27 Last updated: 2012-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Bäckström, Åsa
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