From embodiment to emplacement: Toward understanding occupation as body-mind-environment

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Participation in occupation is an integrated and holistic mind/body experience. However, research and theory development on human action and occupational participation tend to be limited by mind/body dualisms which separate the mind from the body when studying and conceptualizing human action. The ontological supremacy of the mind over the body has led to obfuscation of the body’s role in occupation. The purpose of this paper is to provide a broad overview of contemporary research on embodiment and to highlight the importance of the body in the performance of meaningful occupation. We present various perspectives and conceptual framings of embodiment using research from disciplines such as occupational science, cognitive psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, social psychology, developmental psychology, humanistic geography, and performance studies. Due to the expansive and varied literature on embodiment, we do not attempt to summarize or synthesize disciplinary perspectives; rather, we aim to highlight different perspectives within and across different disciplines. We also present examples of various research methods for studying embodiment and occupation. Additionally, we discuss implications for how sensory processing has been conceptualized in occupational science and occupational therapy and its relation to embodiment. Our aim is to encourage occupational scientists to further incorporate research methods that attend to the body’s role in studies on occupation and to encourage scientists and practitioners to re-think widely accepted assumptions regarding sensory processing and mind/body dualisms.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bailliard, A; Agostine, S; Bristol, S; Syu, YC

Published Date

  • January 1, 2022

Published In

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2158-1576

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1442-7591

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/14427591.2022.2031261

Citation Source

  • Scopus