Body Knowledge and the Shaping of Emotions

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 22 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Elgen SAUERBORN, FU Berlin, Germany
This paper seeks to explore how body knowledge impacts the shaping of emotions in social dynamics. Approaches about body knowledge differentiate between “knowledge of the body” and “knowledge about the body” (Keller/Meuser 2012). The former can be compared with Bourdieu’s theory of practice and embodiment in social contexts whereas the second refers to declarative and propositional types of knowledge.

Moreover, the role of the body as well as of types of knowledge has been increasingly discussed in emotion research over recent years. Scheers (2012) idea of emotions as embodied practices broadens the analytic view of feelings as part of embodied processes whereas the analysis of the influence of declarative knowledge on human emotions has a well-founded tradition in the sociology of emotions.

However, what is often neglected are interdependencies of emotions as a type of embodied knowledge and the knowledge individuals have about their bodies.

Using in-depth interview data from a study on women in leadership positions and emotional labour as an example, I investigate the importance of reflexive knowledge of the body for the development of embodied knowledge and vice versa. From this research, I want to outline the power of the gendered body and its associated assumptions in ordinary practices.