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"Learning to be in the body": (auto)-
ethnographic narratives, alternative physical
activities and healthy ageing.
Profess...
Summary
• Learning to be in the body
• Active older bodies telling a different story from declining bodies. (re-
envisioni...
Physical activity, careers & life course
• The study of biography , of
history, and of the problems of
their intersection ...
Habituated to the sea
Sallyport, Oh Sallyport
Oh how we do love thee
From your white walls and rounded stones
Down to the ...
(Auto)-ethnography: researching the
active ‘ageing’ body
Preamble
• Older people are seen as ‘other’ in much
research on older people.
• Many ‘Baby boomers’ are academics still
un...
(Auto)-ethnography as methodology
• I am a committed
recreational windsurfer –
over 30 years
• I have also been an
ethnogr...
Critique
• Critiques from a number of
ethnographers :Delamont,
(2007), Atkinson, (2006)
• Comments in favour that -
not se...
Response to critique
• In the context of researching the
ageing body and in relation to my
own recent research on active a...
Physical activity and the older body:
embodiment
Some examples
• Sparkes, A. (2010): Narrative of visit to gym
• Humbersto...
Senses and place-holistic approach
• ‘Sense’ of self, embodiment, natural space
• People may construct a sense of themselv...
Being in the Body-windsurfing
• “The water edges over my feet and up my
legs, a sensation of pulsing around my
rubber-enca...
Being in the body-yoga
“Then slowly I warm up with stretching exercises, standing and then
seated. Anna is continuously wa...
Learning to be in the older body
Woman, CC, 61 years old, who had begun yoga through her
own initiative and continued prac...
‘Learning to be in the body’ at a later age
CB, 64 yrs, describes why she returned to yoga and the effect it had
upon her:...
Hard to reach groups
Movers and Shakers initiated in
2009 by Olga McBarnett (Joint
Mental Health Community
Development Lea...
An holistic approach
Enjoyable engagement with physical activity and consequently the potential for
the development of imp...
An holistic approach
• Weekly meetings
organised by
participants which
includes lunch made by
the group members, a
craft o...
Participatory approach to engagement
Planning meeting of the Caribbean Movers and
Shakers members are all part of the loca...
Concluding remarks
• Older people’s voice significant
• (Auto)-ethnography important methodology which
may link personal t...
References
Anderson, L. (2006). Analytic autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography,
35 (4), 373–395.
Atkinson, ...
References
McBarnett, O. (2010) Movers & Shakers in Buckinghamshire, In Humberstone,
B. (Ed.) Third Age and Leisure Resear...
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"Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 1 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 2 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 3 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 4 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 5 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 6 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 7 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 8 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 9 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 10 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 11 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 12 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 13 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 14 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 15 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 16 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 17 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 18 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 19 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 20 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 21 "Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing Slide 22
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Presentation by Prof. Barbara Humberstone for ESRC Seminar Series on Ageing and Physical Activity -
"Physical Activity as a 'Career': A Life Course Perspective"

http://seminars.ecehh.org

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"Learning to be in the Body": (Auto)-ethnographic Narratives, Alternative Physical Activities and Healthy Ageing

  1. 1. "Learning to be in the body": (auto)- ethnographic narratives, alternative physical activities and healthy ageing. Professor Barbara Humberstone Bucks New University
  2. 2. Summary • Learning to be in the body • Active older bodies telling a different story from declining bodies. (re- envisioning medicalization of older bodies.) • Narratives of older people-older researchers researching • Methodologies- (auto) -ethnographies • Critiques- Response to critiques • Embodiment-senses-place • Narratives of active physical bodies • Starting later in life • Physical activity and those not habituated to being in the body actively • Later life building physical career • ‘Hard to reach ‘ groups • Holistic approaches
  3. 3. Physical activity, careers & life course • The study of biography , of history, and of the problems of their intersection C. Wright Mills (1959: 149) • Mellor & Shillings, (2010: 29) Pedagogics moves beyond, ‘Mauss’s (1950) writings on ‘techniques of the body’ and Foucault’s (1988) conception of ‘technologies of the self’ . • One “learn(ing)s to be in the body in nature” Humberstone, (2015:34)
  4. 4. Habituated to the sea Sallyport, Oh Sallyport Oh how we do love thee From your white walls and rounded stones Down to the blue-green sea The ‘Bunny Pier’ with fishermen The pier which we jump from The waves which lash upon the shore In a place which we call home (Portsmouth Evening News-written by bunch of school girls) Humberstone, B (2015) in Brown & Humberstone Portsmouth Evening New
  5. 5. (Auto)-ethnography: researching the active ‘ageing’ body
  6. 6. Preamble • Older people are seen as ‘other’ in much research on older people. • Many ‘Baby boomers’ are academics still undertaking research or semi-retired people undertaking research for interest & PhDs
  7. 7. (Auto)-ethnography as methodology • I am a committed recreational windsurfer – over 30 years • I have also been an ethnographer for most of that time . • I am also a yogini and research older women’s experience of yoga (Humberstone & Cutler- Riddick, 2014)
  8. 8. Critique • Critiques from a number of ethnographers :Delamont, (2007), Atkinson, (2006) • Comments in favour that - not self indulgent : Sparkes & Smith (2014) • Connecting the personal to the ‘political’ Anderson (2006)
  9. 9. Response to critique • In the context of researching the ageing body and in relation to my own recent research on active ageing body narratives, stories may resonate with other (auto) –ethnographic narratives. Such resonations highlight embodied connections between active physical practices, contexts and wider society. Biological narratives of the body are re- storied providing alternative readings of what constitutes ageing bodies.
  10. 10. Physical activity and the older body: embodiment Some examples • Sparkes, A. (2010): Narrative of visit to gym • Humberstone, B. & Cutler- Riddick, C. (2014): Older women and yoga • Phoenix, C. & Orr, N. (2014): importance of pleasurable experiences
  11. 11. Senses and place-holistic approach • ‘Sense’ of self, embodiment, natural space • People may construct a sense of themselves and their environment • single and collective understandings of self and senses of place. • Through embodied, sentient practices (such as walking, standing, surfing and so forth), • by way of the many senses, people encounter spaces and places affording feelings and emotions
  12. 12. Being in the Body-windsurfing • “The water edges over my feet and up my legs, a sensation of pulsing around my rubber-encased feet and legs. No one else is around and the wind howls. Stepping right foot, left foot onto the board I take off. The sail fills as I hitch into the harness. Faster and faster outward across the undulating surface, the sail, the board and me balanced in harmony, picking up speed as we begin to skim over the surface, light as a feather blowing in the air. Then, front arm straight, unhook sink down, and we begin to turn away from the wind, body leaning away from the rig as the board and sail turn in an arc away from the wind, back to shore.” (Humberstone, 2014, cited in Fox and Humberstone, 2014, p. )
  13. 13. Being in the body-yoga “Then slowly I warm up with stretching exercises, standing and then seated. Anna is continuously watching us, adapting poses for different individuals and/or when she introduces another pose, demonstrating two or three versions of the pose, ‘If you have a dodgy hip or foot, you might try this. . .’ she says. I’m delighted she remembers I can’t bend my foot for this pose. She says, ‘You might find doing this pose more appealing by doing. . .’ and ‘. . .a variation of this pose is. . .’. I feel serenity flowing from her. I simply like being around her. She has such calmness about her . . . soft voice, happy face (smile and eyes), a warm glow. We finish with relaxation and breathing exercises.”-Carol Carol’s reflection in Humberstone & Cutler Riddick( 2014)
  14. 14. Learning to be in the older body Woman, CC, 61 years old, who had begun yoga through her own initiative and continued practising throughout her life, is now a leading yoga teacher trainer in a traditional hatha school. She describes how suffering from chronic asthmatic episodes for a number of years had caused her, at 15 years of age, to have to stay ‘in bed for six weeks during the summer’. CC noted she: found a book on pranayama [yoga breathing] and worked on that . . I worked on my breathing and cleared my asthma. She also explained that she took up yoga because of her driving interest in the healing process and working with whole being . . . I believe yoga can cure anything. Humberstone & Cutler-Riddick (2014)
  15. 15. ‘Learning to be in the body’ at a later age CB, 64 yrs, describes why she returned to yoga and the effect it had upon her: I started getting arthritis in my hip and I kept thinking ‘I must go do some yoga’. And that has helped me so ever so much . . . It seems to [help] . . . well I don’t have trouble with my hip now. RK, 71 yrs, having started yoga to ‘keep fit . . . and supple’ was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She continues, I need to keep balance . . . try to keep it at bay. It [yoga] probably keeps me more agile. . . you know going up and down stairs carrying the vacuum cleaner . . . I mean if you don’t keep going . . . I think it is helping in lots of ways . . . I sleep better because of the relaxation and poses, it is being able to relax . . . it [asana practice] gets the blood flowing . . . I always come home rosy cheeked , warm and sleep well.
  16. 16. Hard to reach groups Movers and Shakers initiated in 2009 by Olga McBarnett (Joint Mental Health Community Development Lead Bucks County Council, Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group) and supported by University & others Started with Caribbean group and now has more than 12 Movers and Shakers clubs focussing on diverse communities including Asian, Chinese and sheltered accommodation. Men’s groups getting together through ‘sheds’
  17. 17. An holistic approach Enjoyable engagement with physical activity and consequently the potential for the development of improved physical ,social, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being
  18. 18. An holistic approach • Weekly meetings organised by participants which includes lunch made by the group members, a craft or games activity and a physical activity, including seated yoga.
  19. 19. Participatory approach to engagement Planning meeting of the Caribbean Movers and Shakers members are all part of the local Caribbean community McBarnett, O. (2010) Movers & Shakers in Buckinghamshire
  20. 20. Concluding remarks • Older people’s voice significant • (Auto)-ethnography important methodology which may link personal to political • Address research to exploring emotions and consequently the senses ie embodiment • Address place, the context of the feelings (pleasurable). • Holistic/democratic approaches to engage none habituated people/groups • How do we evaluate the effectiveness of these types of intervention in ways acceptable to policy-makers or more particularly how to engage policy makers with the credibility of interpretative qualitative research?
  21. 21. References Anderson, L. (2006). Analytic autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35 (4), 373–395. Atkinson, P. (2006). Rescuing autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35(4), 400–404. Delamont, S. (2007). Arguments against Auto-Ethnography. Qualitative Researcher. 4, 3-4. Foucault, M. (1988). The ethic of care for the self as a practice of freedom. In J. Bernauer & D. Rasmussen (Eds.), The final Foucault. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Fox, K and Humberstone, B. (2014) Embodiment, Mindfulness and leisure. In L. Such (Ed.) Education, culture and justice: leisure theory and insight . LSA Publication No. 125. Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association. Humberstone, B. and Cutler-Riddick, C. (2014) .Older women, embodiment and yoga practice . Ageing and Society, doi:10.1017/S0144686X1400018X Humberstone, B. (2015) Embodied narratives: being with the sea. In M. Brown, and B. Humberstone(Eds.) Seascapes: Shaped by the sea , Embodied Narratives and Fluid Geographies. Ashgate Publications.
  22. 22. References McBarnett, O. (2010) Movers & Shakers in Buckinghamshire, In Humberstone, B. (Ed.) Third Age and Leisure Research: Principles and Practice. LSA Publication No. 108. Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association. Phoenix, C. & Orr, N. (2014) Pleasure: A forgotten dimension of physical activity in older age. Social Science & Medicine, 115 94-102. Sparkes, A. (2010). Performing the ageing body and the importance of place. Some autoethnographic moments. In B. Humberstone (Ed.), Third age and leisure research: Principles and practice. LSA Publication No. 108. Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association. Sparkes, A. and Smith, B. (2014) Qualitative research methods in sport, exercise and health. London: Routledge. Wright Mills, C. (1959) Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press. Mellor, P.A., & Shillings, C. (2010). Body pedagogics and the religious habitus: A new direction for the sociological study of religion. Religion, 40, 27–38.

Presentation by Prof. Barbara Humberstone for ESRC Seminar Series on Ageing and Physical Activity - "Physical Activity as a 'Career': A Life Course Perspective" http://seminars.ecehh.org

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