Embodiment, Food & Environment - 2 ECTS

Embodiment refers to the connection between mind and body. In various disciplines different theories developed about embodiment. Social-psychologists emphasize mind-body interactions, e.g. feelings-as-information theories or ‘off-line’ mental processes. Such notions are often applied in marketing and consumer studies. Social theories stress socially patterned ways of sensing, informative for understanding how people perceive nature. Anthropologists have theorized about skill-based action helpful to analyse how technologies are used. In philosophy the body is construed by Plato as a prison of the soul, an idea contested in modern philosophy. In the course these and other perspectives are presented and discussed. Cases and examples are selected from food production, cooking, food consumption, nature and environment. Students are encouraged to experience embodiment in concrete activities, for example a walk in nature or prepare and eat food.

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Tue 19 May 2020 until Thu 28 May 2020

Duration Registration deadline: May 4, 2020
Venue Leeuwenborch, gebouwnummer 201

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:     

  • understand and explain the way mind and body interact
  • understand and reflect on how embodiment is conceptualized and applied in different disciplines and scholarly fields;
  • evaluate the benefits and limitations of the presented embodiment approaches
  • analyse real-life experiences related to food and environment


Literature study, lectures and tutorials. Tutorials contain assignments to experience and analyse concrete activities, for example a walk in nature or prepare and eat food.


  • Ph. MacNaghten (2003), Embodying the environment in everyday life practices. The Sociological Review 51, 63-841.
  • M. Mauss, Techniques of the body. In: N. Schlanger ed. (2006), Marcel Mauss. Techniques, Technology and Civilisation.New York, Durkheim Press/Oxford, Berghahn Books.
  • C. van der Weele (2006), Food Metaphors and Ethics: Towards more Attention for Bodily Experience. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 19:313–324.
  • M. Wilson (2002), Six views of embodied cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 9, 625-636


  • One writing assignment (70%)
  • One practical assignment (30%)

Each component requires a minimum of 5.5 to pass                                                  


Session 1 19-5-2020 10.30-12.15
Session 2 20-5-2020 10.30-12.15
Session 3 27-5-2020 10.30-12.15
Session 4 28-5-2020 10.30-12.15

Target group and min/max number of participants:

The course is aimed for advanced Master students and PhD candidates in various fields, most prominently the social sciences, environmental sciences, food and nutrition sciences. The minimum number of participants is 8, maximum number of participants is 20.

Assumed prior knowledge:

Master-level social sciences or similar qualifications. Capacity to read social science theory and philosophical papers.


The sessions will be held in building “De Leeuwenborch”, Hollandseweg 1 in Wageningen, The Netherlands. The exact rooms will be announced later.

Course fees

WASS, PE&RC and WIMEK/SENSE PhDs with TSP € 220
a) All other PhD candidates b) Postdocs and staff of the above mentioned Graduate Schools € 450
All others € 700

NB: for some courses, PhD candidates from other WUR graduate schools with a TSP are also entitled to a reduced fee. Please consult your Education/PhD Programme Coordinator for more information

Cancellation conditions:

Participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.