Seeing, feeling, and showing bodies-in-place: on reflexivity and multi-sensory mediations

118 Muirhead Tower
Wednesday 16 May 2018 (12:00-13:00)

All Welcome


Dr Mark Paterson, University of Pittsburgh, IAS Vanguard Fellow

How best to represent the embodied, multisensory experience of ‘bodies-in-place’? With all the emphasis on ‘mobilities’, how are mobile bodies sensed, reflected upon, and represented? Although this has long been a challenge across the social sciences, here I want to consider certain technological mediations and some associated reflexive capacities of the embodied researcher. First, ’seeing’: I establish the context within a more general ‘return to the senses’ in the social sciences, and particularly within ethnographic fieldwork, to reconnect place and sense through mobile encounter. Second, ‘feeling': particular forms of sensory reflexivity and positionality are raised to consider how researchers themselves are emplaced in embodied, ethnographic contexts. Third, ‘showing’: a filmic case study is offered to show the possibilities of multimodal (audio-visual) media for more experimental ethnographic observation and impromptu videographic experiments in the field. Finally, some implications for other forms of representation and mediation are considered.

Mark Paterson is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. He has conducted funded research on the use of haptic technologies within museums, and on the mixed spaces of human-robotic interaction (HRI). He is the author of several books, including The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies (2007), Seeing with the Hands: Blindness, Vision and Touch After Descartes (2016) and co-editor of Touching Place, Spacing Touch (with Martin Dodge, 2012). His current book project is How We Became Sensory- Motor: Mapping Movement and Modernity. His research blog is at