chapter  4
35 Pages

A methodological move: movement literacy

Overview This chapter opens with a brief comment on a photograph from Evans-Pritchard’s work, to illustrate a fundamental problem with Western ways of viewing human movement. I suggest that once people are conceived as dynamically embodied persons, that is, as beings empowered to perform signifying acts with both vocal signs (talk) and action signs (movement) as articulated in Chapter 3, then the way is clear to develop strategies for the systematic investigation of embodied action in social life. I discuss the adoption of the movement script Labanotation as a methodological resource adequate to this task, making a case for movement literacy by critically examining methods used to record (American) Plains Indian Sign Language. The chapter returns to Evans-Pritchard in recognition of his later interest in the idea of a literacy for movement.