Embodied Ways of Storying the Self: A Systematic Review of Body-Mapping

Adèle de Jager, Anna Tewson, Bryn Ludlow, Katherine Boydell


The first recorded instance of whole-body-mapping for research purposes is a comparison of women's identity and the concept of the reproductive system in rural Jamaica and the UK. It was later developed in a structured workshop process in South Africa to give voice to the experiences of HIV positive individuals, decrease stigma, and advocate for provision of anti-retroviral medication. Whole-body mapping involves tracing around a person's body to create a life-sized outline, which is filled in during a creative and reflective process, producing an image representing multiple aspects of their embodied experience. Body-mapping holds promise as a qualitative, participatory research method to produce and disseminate knowledge. However, it is unclear how it is being used, by whom, and in what context. This article presents the findings of a systematic review of body-mapping in the published literature. The review identifies various implementations of body-mapping in research, therapeutic, and educational contexts. The degree of emphasis on social justice, knowledge translation, research, and therapeutic benefit varies a great deal, as does the intent and use of body-mapping. While body-mapping holds promise, more empirical investigation would be valuable in determining its characteristics in research, clinical, educative and political spheres.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1602225


body-mapping; embodiment; narrative; participatory research; knowledge translation; qualitative research; arts-based; visual methods

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-17.2.2526

Copyright (c) 2016 Adèle de Jager, Anna Tewson, Bryn Ludlow, Katherine Boydell

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