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A perspective that roots social existence and experience through the body and the cognition of the self. The body is symbolically constructed as one incorporates socially constructed labels and assumptions relating to the body; ‘these take on the weight of unquestionable fact once applied to self and others’ (Adams and Ghose (2003) PHG27, 4). ‘Intellectual production is always materialized through human bodies, and nonhuman objects…knowledge never arrives from pure brainpower, from only sparking synapses. It is the outcome of embodied practice’ (Barnes (2004) PHG28, 5).

Perception is seen as a practical bodily involvement; an active process relating to our ongoing projects and practices. ‘This means that the human body is unique in playing a dual role both as the vehicle of perception and the object perceived’ (Simonsen (2005) Geografiska B 87, 1). H. Nast and S. Pile (1998) consider the relationship between space and embodiment: bodies are relational and territorialized—they are woven together with space in ‘intricate webs of social and spatial relations that are made by, and make, embodied subjects’. ‘Our understanding of spaces and places must incorporate the ways in which bodies are constituted and contested, and acknowledge their challenge to conventional boundaries’ (Little and Leyshon (2003) PHG27, 3). S. Franklin and S. McKinnon (2001) list the ‘vastly different scales of embodiment’, from the gene, to the body, to the family or species, to the nation, to the commodity form and cyberspace.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.

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