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Workshop Social Aspects of the Body


Workshop led by

Dominika Byczkowska-Owczarek, University of Lodz


Human body is a growing subject of sociological research. There are more and more interesting studies concerning various aspects of human bodily experience (e.g., illness, beauty, sports, dance, food, race, gender, aging…). Therefore, it is important to introduce specific methodological perspective concerning this particular subject of sociological interest.
During the workshop there will be presented and practiced most of the research techniques used in the studies on social aspects of the body: interview, observation, photo and video elicited interview, autoethnography. Each of the techniques of research will be presented in a short and practical way, and then practiced by the participants. There will be shown advantages and limitations of the data gathering techniques and ways of adjusting each of them in a study of the body. Autoethnography, as a specific research method, though very useful, will be practiced by the participants, a report will be written and analyzed.
There will also be presented limitations of social research of bodily issues and ways to minimize or overcome them, as well as ethical issues, which are crucial in research of such a sensitive subject as human body.

Workshop program

  1. Introduction. Basic methodological and empirical issues of sociology of the body.
  2. Interview, observation, photo and video elicited interview—adjusting the techniques in embodiment research.
  3. Interview, observation, photo and video elicited interview—analysis of data.
  4. Autoethnography—self experience.
  5. Writing a report and analysis of an autoethnography.
  6. Limitations of social research of the body.
  7. Ethical concerns in embodiment research.
  8. Embodiment research practice—discussion and final remarks.

Who should attend?

Researchers who are interested in research of social aspects of embodiment, want to include this type of data in their research.


Practical skills of conducting a research concerning social aspects of the body; Using own experiences in the research practice; Adjusting techniques of data gathering in a research of social aspects of the body.

Dominika Byczkowska-Owczarek is an assistant professor in Institute of Sociology, University of Lodz. Her book “Body in dance. Sociological perspective” is based on a 5-year research among ballroom dancers. Now she conducts researches concerning experiencing of illness, therapy and medical work. Her biggest passion is studying the ways in which society influences human bodies, and applying this knowledge in practical skills and solutions in everyday life of individuals and organizations.

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