Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 389–408

Perceiving subjectivity in bodily movement: The case of dancers


DOI: 10.1007/s11097-009-9135-5

Cite this article as:
Legrand, D. & Ravn, S. Phenom Cogn Sci (2009) 8: 389. doi:10.1007/s11097-009-9135-5


This paper is about one of the puzzles of bodily self-consciousness: can an experience be both and at the same time an experience of one′s physicality and of one′s subjectivity? We will answer this question positively by determining a form of experience where the body′s physicality is experienced in a non-reifying manner. We will consider a form of experience of oneself as bodily which is different from both “prenoetic embodiment” and “pre-reflective bodily consciousness” and rather corresponds to a form of reflective access to subjectivity at the bodily level. In particular, we argue that subjectivity is bodily expressed, thereby allowing the experience of the body′s subjectivity directly during perceptual experiences of the body. We use an interweaving of phenomenological explorations and ethnographical methods which allows validating this proposal by considering the experience of body experts (dancers).


ReflectivitySelf-consciousnessBody perceptionExpressive behaviorBalletContemporary danceButoh

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREA: Centre de Recherche en Epistemologie AppliqueeParisFrance
  2. 2.Institute of Sport Science and Clinical BiomechanicsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark