A Practical Introduction to Motion-Sensing Phenomenology


  • Stephen Smith Simon Fraser University
  • Rebecca Lloyd University of Ottawa




Phenomenology is an approach to research that describes and analyzes lived experience. What sets ‘motion-sensing’ phenomenology apart is the primacy that movement holds, not only in the physically active topics taken up but also in the first-person kinetic, kinaesthetic and energetic approaches to meaning-making. The purpose of this paper is specifically to provide a practical accompaniment to a motion-sensing conceptualization of phenomenology. We discuss the importance of (a) being moved to research a topic, (b) formulating research questions that take us from the functional, taken-for-granted realms of movement to the experiential realms of flow, and (c) taking up our research questions in a practice of writing that remains grounded in the movements written about. The overall result of such inquiry is that preconceived notions of how and why we move become infused with motional sensitivity. Tactile-kinetic, kinaesthetic and energetic meanings have evident appeal in that motion sensing phenomenology (MSP) brings to language what is too often construed as being ineffable. The meanings that emerge and the transformations that are possible have principally to do with appreciating more fully the active and interactive lives that we might lead. 

Keywords: phenomenology; kinaesthetic; motion; flow. 



Author Biographies

Stephen Smith, Simon Fraser University

Full Professor, Faculty of Education

Rebecca Lloyd, University of Ottawa

Full Professor, Interdisciplinary Education






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