Body Contact and Body Language: Moments of Personal Development and Social and Cultural Learning Processes in Movement Psychology and Education


  • Helle Winther University of Copenhagen



body contact, body language, trust, personal development, social and cultural learning processes, narrative data, performative representations


Body contact and body language are unique and existential and, although culturally dependent and socially embodied, they are also universal communication forms. For small children all over the world, warm, close and nourishing body contact is fundamental to their embodied experi­ence of themselves and the boundaries between self and world. In western societies, the modern premises for contact are in some ways developing from close contact to virtual communication. With this breadth of perspective in mind, the ques­tion is whether conscious and experimental work with body contact and body language in move­ment psychology and education provide potential for intense personal develop­ment as well as for social and cultural learning processes. This performative research project originates from the research project entitled, Movement Psy­chol­ogy: The Language of the Body and the Psy­chol­ogy of Movement based on the Dance Therapy Form Dansergia. The author, who is a practi­tioner-researcher, is methodologically inspir­ed by phenomenology, performative methods and a narrative and auto-ethnographic approach. The project will be presented in an organic, cre­at­ive and performative way. Through a moving dia­logue between a written text and a visceral on-line performance involving photographs and music, the reader/audience has the possibility to be touched both sensually and intellectually, although through communication is in cyberspace, missing the liveliness of direct body language. See online performance: URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802637


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Author Biography

Helle Winther, University of Copenhagen

Helle WINTHER, Senior Lecturer in dance, movement and communication at the University of Copenhagen, Section of Human and Social Sciences, Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences. Dance and body psychotherapist in the dance therapy form Dansergia. Chairperson of Danish Dance and Movement Therapy Association (DDMTA). Teaching and research in the area of dance, movement, body language, body communication, dance therapy and movement psychology. Co-author and editor of three books and anthologies and author of many articles in journals and books.




How to Cite

Winther, H. (2008). Body Contact and Body Language: Moments of Personal Development and Social and Cultural Learning Processes in Movement Psychology and Education. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2).