Researching the Sensory (lecture notes)

  • Researching the sensory
  • What are our senses?
  • What do they do?
  • How do they link into sensory ethnography?
  • Aristotelian hierarchical order of the senses.
  • -sight
  • -hearing
  • -smell =Human senses
  • -Taste
  • -Touch =Animal
  • How many senses do we have?
  • Thermoception –Sense of temperature
  • Equalibrioception- balance
  • Proprioception- where our limbs are
  • introception
  • Temporal perception
  • Nociception
  • The western bias
  • Sight is seen as ‘the most formative’ and intellectual of the senses.
  • Senses in cultural context (classen, 1991)
  • -critique of visual reductionism
  • Is there a natural order of senses?
  • Is that order historically specific?
  • Do human beings naturally prefer some colours or taste or sounds to other?
  • Are all of our likes and dislikes conditioned by culture?
  • Habitus and Taste
  • Pierre Bourdieu says family background/ upbringing combines with education to produce a ‘habitus’.
  • The concept of habitus shows how early, learned dispositions become embodied. We literally see, taste and feel things in particular ways because of it.
  • Sensory Ethnography
  • Recognises the researcher as part of a ‘social. sensory environment’
  • Sensory research has considered how sensorial experiences interact with and influence…
  • -social interactions (simmel 1997, Howes 2003 :low 2005)
  • What do we mean by sensory experiences?
  • Bodily experience
  • Unplanned and ‘naturally’ occurring
  • Mental Experience
  • A conscience creation
  • ‘Mere’ Experiences
  • this is the stuff that generally happens
  • ‘an’ Experiences
  • And event with a start and an end
  • Concept of embodiment tries to remove this perceived divide between body and mind.
  • The body is more than a source of experience that is then rationalised and understood by the mind.
  • The body is more than a source of experience, it is a source of knowledge and agency.
  • Embodiment is a process
  • When we say experience are ‘embodied’ we mean that we both learn and discover things through our entire bodies.
  • We learn things bodily not just mentally.
  • Emplacement
  • Embodiment –integration of body and mind
  • Emplacement- Integration of body- mind environment
  • When conducting sensory ethnography we need to think about our own mind body experience.
  • So, sensory ethnography is based upon an understanding of the senses as interconnected and interrelated.
  • Ethnographic fieldwork takes place within a space and is a matter of embodiment.
  • -Multisensory embodied engagement with others.
  • (Pink 25-26)
  • Knowledge acquisition is a social, participatory and embodied practise.
  • e. learning how to do something is about watching people, being taught, trying thins out, practices ect.
  • Knowledge is gained through participation and so knowledge is not brought about from within.
  • Thus, to ‘know’ what others ‘know’ we must ‘do’ what they ‘do’
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