The Body Represented
AbstractThis research proposes the body as a privileged stage for creating possible worlds and the school as a metaphor for its territory. The guiding question is: How do students represent their bodies and the relationships that stem from them? In this way, the study explores the body in the classroom as a site of interaction with the lifeworld, aiming to uncover the invisible learning experiences of students as objects of communication research. The work attempts to understand the body as indivisible between its parts and the environment, as a contemporary axis of the notion of humanity, rooted in the core of social and human sciences. The body is seen as substance and action, the metaphor of all metaphors, cutting across various fields of knowledge. Currently, the body seems to be reduced to social capital, an object open to commodification. It's a body dedicated to consumption, improvement, fitness, shaving, and stretching, while time contracts it—an advertising subject, a form of advertisement in itself. The study seeks answers regarding young people's conceptions and interactions with their bodies by understanding the questions that arise from and about the body and the variations and processes of self-awareness that many young people undergo. This research is pursued through fieldwork on two continents, aiming to understand how these relationships can vary according to the cultural context. Based on this background, a questionnaire is constructed. Its primary purpose is to comprehend how students perceive their relationships with their bodies, associating them with feelings, shapes, emotions, beauty, words, and other elements. Additionally, the study attempts to grasp the order in which the body is conceived: as a whole, composed of parts, or as parts? The questionnaire proposes the idea of the multidimensionality of the body, suggesting that the body is more than just its physical form—it traverses, travels, and transforms across different dimensions. The questionnaire was administered to university students majoring in communication-related fields. A group of 200 students participated, with 100 from Universidad Sergio Arboleda in Bogotá, Colombia, and 100 from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. These universities were chosen to diversify the study's participants, encompassing private and public education, ensuring a broader spectrum of responses. Studying the body as an object leads to cognition, communication, and information insights. Within its totality and in each of its parts, there is a complex web of cognitive processes intertwined with practices of self-organization, self-affirmation, reproduction, and complexity. I have argued that cognitive science is beginning to realize that perception is not about recovering a pre-established world, but rather it is perceptually guided action in a world inseparable from our sensorimotor abilities, and that higher cognitive structures also arise from recurrent patterns of perceptually guided action. Therefore, cognition is not about representations but embodied action. (Varela, 1996, p. 9) This exercise encourages students to reflect on bodily experiences, exploring their imaginations and ways of representing the body using focus group methodology. It aims to consider experiences in the educational setting as performances and recognize their potential to transform students' communication skills.