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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26152

Title: Life in a Body: Counter Hegemonic Understandings of Violence, Oppression, Healing and Embodiment among Young South Asian Women
Authors: Batacharya, Sheila
Advisor: Ng, Roxana
Department: Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Keywords: Embodiment
Young South Asian Women
Yoga
Violence
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2011
Abstract: This study is an investigation of embodiment. It is informed by the experiences and understandings of health, healing, violence and oppression among 15 young South Asian women living in Toronto, Canada. Their articulation of the importance of, and difficulties associated with, health and healing in contexts of social inequity contribute to understandings of embodiment as co-constituted by sentient and social experience. In my reading of their contributions, embodied learning – that is, an ongoing attunement to sentient-social embodiment – is a counter hegemonic healing strategy that they use. Their experiences and insights support the increasingly accepted claim that social inequity is a primary determinant of health that disproportionately disadvantages subordinated people. Furthermore, participants affirm that recovery and resistance to violence and oppression and its consequences must address sentient-social components of embodiment simultaneously. In this study, Yoga teachings provide a framework and practice to investigate embodiment and embodied learning. Following 12 Yoga workshops addressing health, healing, violence and oppression, I conducted individual interviews with 15 workshop participants, 3 Yoga teachers and 2 counsellor / social workers. Participants discuss Yoga as a resource for addressing mental, physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of violence and oppression. They resist New Age interpretations of Yoga in terms of individualism and cultural appropriation; they also challenge both New Age and Western biomedicine for a lack of attention to the consequences of social inequity for health and healing. This study considers embodied learning as an important healing resource and form of resistance to violence and oppression. Scholarship addressing embodiment in sociology, health research, anti-racism, feminism, anti-colonialism, decolonization and Indigenous knowledges are drawn upon to contextualize the interviews. This study offers insights relevant to health promotion and adult education discourse and policy through a careful consideration of the embodied strategies used by the participants in their nuanced negotiations of social inequity and pursuits of health and healing.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26152
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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