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Body schema and body image: At the crossroad of somatics and social work

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This research began as a response to fieldwork difficulties encountered in bringing somatic practices, particularly Feldenkrais, into the field of social work. The endogenous discourses produced by the Feldenkrais community to describe and analyse the practice proved to be counterproductive in convincing social work professionals of the relevance of somatics to participation in the global support of people living in a cluster of social difficulty, including health (chronic disease), and ethnic and cultural differences (migration). The analysis of endogenous discourses has shown discrepancies within the discourses themselves, and between discourse and practice. This article presents an alternative Feldenkrais description based on Gallagher’s model of body image and body schema, and the relevance of such a model to the Feldenkrais Method, but also to social work, describing the experience of social exclusion as a somatic experience.
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Keywords: Feldenkrais; body image; body schema; epistemology and the theory of Feldenkrais; politics; social work

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Université Paris 8

Publication date: 2012-04-27

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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