Exploring Lived Heat, “Temperature Work,” and Embodiment: Novel Auto/Ethnographic Insights from Physical Cultures

  • Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, Anu Vaittinen, George Jennings, Helen Owton
  • Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, December 2016, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0891241616680721

The experience of heat in sport and physical cultures

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash

What is it about?

Drawing on sociological and anthropological theorizations of the senses and “sensory work”, the purpose of this article is to investigate the under-researched sense of thermoception, or the sense of temperature. Based on four long-term, in-depth auto/ethnographic research projects, we examine whether 'lived heat' or thermoception can be conceptualized as a distinct sense. We draw on findings from four auto/ethnographic projects conducted by the authors as long-standing insider members of their various physical-cultural lifeworlds: distance running, mixed martial arts, traditionalist Chinese martial arts, and boxing. Emerging from all four studies were key findings relating to the importance of “temperature work” involving thermoceptive somatic learning, and physical-culturally specific bodily ways of knowing and sense-making. These in turn shape how heat and cold are actually “felt” and experienced in the mind-body.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson