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Book Chapter

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SAGE Publications


Embodied knowledge situates intellectual and theoretical insights within the realm of the material world. Embodied knowledge is sensory; it highlights smell, touch, and taste as well as more commonly noted sights and sounds. Knowledge grounded in bodily experience encompasses uncertainty, ambiguity, and messiness in everyday life, eschewing sanitized detached measurement of discrete variables. Such an epistemology, or way of knowing, resists the Cartesian mind–body split that underlies Enlightenment philosophy and its persistent remnants, including the scientific method and the glorification of objectivity. Embodied knowledge is inherently and unapologetically subjective, celebrating—rather than glossing over —the complexities of knowledge production. Fieldwork, interviewing, writing, and other qualitative methods involve embodied practices performed by actors occupying specific standpoints or positions within cultures. The researcher's body—where it is positioned, what it looks like, what social groups or classifications it is perceived as belonging to—matters deeply in knowledge formation.

Chapter of

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods


Lisa M. Given


© 2008 SAGE Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.



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