Barbara Sieferle

Participate – Learn – Understand

A Methodical Approach to the Corporeality of Sociocultural Realities


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The article deals with the methodical approach to the physical dimensions of culture and society. It argues that physical aspects of socio-cultural realities, which often cannot be inquired by use of verbal language, can be made accessible by the method of participant observation. On the basis of ethnographic field research on the physicality of pilgrimage it will be shown to what extent the active participation in the practices of the field can be a methodical access to the physical dimensions, specifically to the physical patterns of action and experience of the field. The process of the European-ethnological understanding of the physical dimensions of socio-cultural realities by means of participant observation is made transparent and methodologically comprehensible.

body, participant observation, method, fieldwork, ethnography, autoethnography, pilgrimage, walking, learning, understanding

APA citation
Sieferle B. (2019). Teilnehmen – Erfahren – Verstehen : Ein methodischer Zugang zur Körperlichkeit soziokultureller Wirklichkeiten. Zeitschrift für Volkskunde, 115(1), 27-49.