1st Edition

Kinaesthesia in the Psychology, Philosophy and Culture of Human Experience

By Roger Smith Copyright 2023
    156 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This accessible book explores the nature and importance of kinaesthesia, considering how action, agency and movement intertwine and are fundamental in feeling embodied in the world.

    Bringing together psychological, philosophical and cultural perspectives, the book examines the subjective feeling of movement in a cross-disciplinary manner. It discusses kinaesthesia through the framework of embodied cognition and outlines how contemporary discussion in psychology and phenomenology can inform our understanding of everyday experience. The book also sketches a framework for full appreciation of the sense of movement in performance and cultural life, discussing how a sense of movement is central to one’s agency. It is composed in four ‘movements’, aiming to achieve a connected and original argument for why movement matters, an argument exemplified in dance. The first movement explains the science of kinaesthesia and the history of the concept to a discussion of current thought informed by phenomenology and embodied cognition, the second quiet movement reflects on the psychological and philosophical dimensions of the sense of movement, the third movement turns to the culture of movement in dance and walking, and the fourth rests with the pleasures of movement, and emphasizes the social dimensions of movement in gesture and agency.

    This wide-ranging book is a must-read for all those interested in the psychology of movement, embodied cognition, performance studies and the interaction between psychology and dance. It will also be of interest to students and practitioners of embodied movement and dance practice therapies.


    List of illustrations


    Part 1. First movement: theme and variations

    1. Being alive

    2. What is the sense of movement?

    3. Kinaesthesia appears on the map of science


    Part 2. Second movement: andante

    4. The feel for reality

    5. Phenomenology and embodiment

    6. Movement and time


    Part 3. Third movement: minuet and trio

    7. Free dance

    8. Walking

    9. The dance of life


    Part 4. Fourth movement: allegro

    10. Gesture

    11 .Agency

    12. Finale – con brio


    References and selected reading



    Roger Smith is Emeritus Reader in History of Science at Lancaster University, UK.