Bodily Practices of Elderly and the Methodology of Oral History

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 10:00 AM
Room: Booth 40
Distributed Paper
Leticia ALVARES , Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil
The category of bodily practices refers to phenomena that are shown primarily in body extent, of which constitute cultural expressions and are expressed as a form of language (FALCÃO & SARAIVA, 2009). It is also understood that the bodily practices refers to social phenomena such as dances, games, leisure, physical exercise, sports, the gymnastics, martial arts (LAZZAROTTI, 2010).

Brazilian public policies and social programs aimed at health promotion that have bodily practices as an axis, in general, they have been structured with the anatomical and physiological issues as central references. (SILVA & DAMIANI, 2005) This character is also present in programs offered specifically for the elderly where, in general, only strictly biophysiological goals are important to be conquered in order to combat the physical declines that come with advancing age.

Opposed to this narrow look of the body presentation in these program offerings, the category of bodily practices seems to offer us the opportunity to think about the bodily expressions beyond of their biological condition. This category has been increasingly defined making use of theoretical and methodological frameworks from the social sciences and humanities in order to look for a body that also presents a condition that is social, historical and cultural.

Reflecting on the possibility of enhancing the bodily experience of an old person, in other words, looking beyond the achievement of goals that only combat physical decline, one can think of the potential of the memories in order to know about bodily practices that this old person experienced along his life by making use of the methodology of Oral History (VON SIMSON, 2003). Memory narratives produced in the elderly can evoke about how bodily practices may vary by gender, culture context, social class and education in a life course, producing different body experiences at this stage of life.