Sensory narratives: capturing embodiment in narratives of movement, sport, leisure and health

lisahunter, elke emerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Narrative research has been employed by many researchers in the field of physical culture (including movement, play, dance, sport, leisure, physical pursuits, physical activity, physical education and health). From our storied worlds, narrative research reveals complex embodied and emplaced social phenomena within this field. However, there are still many questions about how we might begin to take more seriously the lived body, the phenomenological and subjective experiences of those people whose practices constitute this field. From a methodological and epistemological perspective, we face ongoing challenges in understanding physical culture and its constitution in storied and embodied ways. This paper explores the possibilities for narrative research to be extended using a framework of intersections between three research moments (field texts, interim research texts and research texts) and four epistemes (senses, sensual experience, sensory geographies and sensational learning/turning points). We explore sensory narratives as forms that capture embodiment in rich ways, providing multimodal possibilities, new timespace possibilities and new insights. This paper is an attempt to move beyond telling stories of us having bodies to address us as bodies [Ellsworth, E. (2005). Places of learning: Media, architecture, pedagogy. New York: RoutledgeFalmer], emplaced, and whose movement and sensations are crucial to learning, knowing and understanding. We grapple with two core conundrums for researchers who use narrative: how to capture, analyse and represent storied worlds in embodied ways and how to capture sensed and embodied experiences in narrative. Finally, we discuss implications for (re)telling enduring and new narratives using emerging sense-focussed epistemologies and methodologies to communicate narrative at the three research moments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-46
Number of pages19
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Embodiment
  • Emplacement
  • Health
  • Leisure
  • Movement
  • Narrative
  • Physical culture
  • Sensational
  • Senses
  • Sensory narrative
  • Sensual
  • Sport

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