Embodiment: interdisciplinary themes and perspectives for digital technology research

The emergence of embodiment as a research area

The emergence of embodiment as a research area

Renewed interest in theories and perspectives of embodiment has emerged in conjunction with advances in ubiquitous computing and the development of technologies that inherently change the character of human computer interaction. The very nature of technologies such as tangible, multi-touch, sensor and mobile technologies offers opportunities for exploiting a wider range of perceptual-based experiences than traditional desktop computing. Primarily they offer opportunities to exploit more bodily-based physical experiences in new ways, for example, through manipulation of physical objects linked to a variety of digitally augmentations; enhancing contextually based experience in real world environments through mobile devices, fostering new forms interaction and new ways of thinking. These developments are important in explaining the contemporary interest in concepts of embodiment, in the context of digital technologies that foster more embodied forms of interaction and experiences. However, notions of embodiment have a long and complex history, with continued debate from various disciplinary perspectives. This working paper provides a brief history of theoretical approaches to embodiment, an introduction to ways in which embodiment is described within different disciplines, and outlines key ways in which these perspectives are of interest in the current context of digital technology research.

Will Farr, Sara Price and Carey Jewitt (2012). Embodiment: interdisciplinary themes and perspectives for digital technology research. NCRM WORKING PAPER. Read it on NCRM EPrints.