Embodiment and bodily description: common sense data in expert accounts

Shakespeare, Pam (2006). Embodiment and bodily description: common sense data in expert accounts. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(1) pp. 59–69.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp054oa


This paper explores the use made of descriptions of embodiment and embodied activity in a collection of articles, which include case histories in different therapeutic traditions. As a context, the paper draws on three interests of ethnomethodology: how description is constructed; what competent ordinary members (of society) understand as elicited form accounts; and how work practice can be articulated. Primarily using introductory sections of accounts about cases in a spread of therapeutic traditions, the paper analyses how ordinary commonplace accouts of embodiment may offer initial clues as to the 'state' of the client, present a picture of the problem, or be used as relevant biographical data. A key feature of the analysis is to show that these embodied accounts, using ordinary lay language, do important work in establishing problems as 'in and part of the world', but are also an appropriate supplement to thereapeutic accounts.

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