Embodiment as a Paradigm for Anthropology

The paper outlines embodiment as a paradigm for anthropology, beginning with a critical examination of two theories of embodiment: Merleau-Ponty (1962), who elaborates embodiment in the problematic of perception, and Bourdieu (1977, 1984), who situates embodiment in an anthropological discourse of practice. My exposition will be hermeneutic in the specific sense of cycling through presentation of methodological concepts and demonstrations of how thinking in terms of embodiment has influenced my own research on healing and ritual language in a contemporary Christian religious movement. I first examine two religious healing services, interpreting multisensory imagery as an embodied cultural process. Then I examine the practice of speaking in tongues or glossolalia as embodied experience within a ritual system and as a cultural operator in the social trajectory of the religious movement. Finally, I return to a general discussion of the implications of embodiment as a methodological paradigm.


Released: Replika 121–122, 113–146.
Replika block:
Erna Leichtman