In this article, we outline the importance of a medical anthropology of sensations for theories of psychopathology and psychological healing. We define what is meant by ;sensation' (differentiating monomodal and polymodal sensations) and describe some of the mechanisms that generate and amplify sensations. We propose the heuristic use of the concepts of sensation schemas, sensation interpretants, and sensation scripts. We argue against the naive assumption that sensation experience is the same across cultures. Finally, we consider how healing may occur through 'sensation semiosis.'
In the last few decades, scholars from across the humanities and social sciences have been turning their attention on the sensorium, challenging psychology's longstanding monopoly over research in this area. This turn has given rise to many key insights into the sociality of sensation and the cultural contingency of perception. It has also led to the emergence of a range of new academic fields and approaches, including the anthropology of the senses, history of the senses, sociology of the senses, and sensuous geography, to name but a few. One of the latest and most striking instances of this expansion has been in the field of museum studies. This special issue is dedicated to showcasing breaking developments in this dynamic new area of inquiry, which we call "sensory museology," by bringing together a series of articles that delve into the history of display and the rising tide of sensory experimentation in contemporary curatorial practice.
The senses are made, not given. Multisensory anthropology focuses on the variable boundaries, differential elaboration, and many different ways of combining the senses across (and within) cultures. Its methodology is grounded in “participant sensation,” or sensing—and making sense—along with others, also known as sensory ethnography. This review article traces the sensualization of anthropological theory and practice since the early 1990s, showing how the concept of sensory mediation has steadily supplanted the prior concern with representation. It concludes with a discussion of how the senses are engaged in filmmaking, multispecies ethnography, and material culture studies as well as in achieving social justice.
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