Main Article Content



The aim of this article, based on the literature review, is to explore the senses within the context of knowledge. The article begins with a description of embodied (i.e., also sensory) knowledge’s marginalisation within the social sciences and the reasons for this. After indicating the most popular fields of research, the article explores three main understandings of sensory knowledge: (1) senses as a source of knowledge, (2) senses as acquired skills and (3) sensory knowledge as a result of (collective) activity. In the next part, sensory knowledge is discussed as tacit knowledge, taking into account the problem of its verbalisation and the nature of its acquisition. The last part explores the social construction of sensory knowledge and its relation to subjective experiences, referring to the concepts of intersubjectivity, objectification and legitimisation. 


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Author Biography

HONORATA JAKUBOWSKA, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Honorata Jakubowska is professor of sociology at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.


  1. Agapakis, Christina and Sissel Tolaas. 2012. „Smelling in multiple dimensions.” Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 16: 569–575.
  2. Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and John Hockey. 2011. „Feeling the way: Notes towards a haptic phenomenology of distance running and scuba diving.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 46: 330–345.
  3. Amerine, Maynard and Edward B. Roessler. 1983[1976]. Wines: Their Sensory Evaluation, rev. ed. New York: W.H. Freeman.
  4. Bach, Kent. 2004. Knowledge, Wine and Taste: What good is knowledge (in enjoying wine)? Philosophy and Wine: from science to subjectivity. 10th December 2004, Senate House, University of London
  5. Berger, Peter L. and Thomas Luckmann. 1966. The Social Construction of Reality. New York: Free Press.
  6. Bernstein, Basil. 1990. The Structuring of Pedagogic Discourse: volume IV, class, codes and control. London: Routledge.
  7. Bijsterveld, Karin. 2019. Sonic Skills. Listening for Knowledge in Science, Medicine and Engineering (1920s–Present). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  8. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: University Press.
  9. Bourdieu, Pierre and Jean-Claude Passeron. 1970. La Reproduction. Éléments pour une théorie du système d'enseignement. Paris: Minuit.
  10. Brulé, Emeline and Gilles Bailly. 2018. „Taking into Account Sensory Knowledge: The Case of Geo-technologies for Children with Visual Impairments.” ACM CHI’18, Apr 2018, Montreal, Canada. doi:
  11. Carpenter, Edmund. 1973. Oh, What a Blow That Phantom Gave Me! New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  12. Classen, Constance, ed., 2005. The Book of Touch. Oxford: Berg Publishers.
  13. Collins, Harry. 2010. Tacit and Explicit Knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  14. Collins, Harry and Robert Evans. 2007. Rethinking expertise. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  15. Feld, Steven 1996. „Waterfalls of song: an acoustemology of place resounding in Bosavi, Papua New Guinea.” Pp. 91-135 in Senses of place, edited by S. Feld & K.H. Basso. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.
  16. Foucault, Michel. 1975. Surveiller et punir. Paris: Gallimard.
  17. Foucault, Michel. 1976. Histoire de la sexualité. Vol I: La Volonté de savoir. Paris: Gallimard.
  18. Gardner, John and Claire Williams. 2015. „Corporeal diagnosis work and diagnosis spaces: Clinicians’ use of space and bodies during diagnosis.” Sociology of Health and Illness 37(5): 765-781.
  19. Gascoigne, Neil and Tim Thornton. 2013. Tacit Knowledge. Durham: Acumen.
  20. Habermas, Jürgen. 1981. Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. Frankfurt, Germany: Suhrkamp.
  21. Harris, Anna. 2016. „Listening-touch, Affect and the Crafting of Medical Bodies through Percussion.” Body & Society 22(1): 31-61.
  22. Harris, Anna and Melissa Van Drie. 2015. „Sharing sound: teaching, learning, and researching sonic skills.” Sound Studies 1(1): 98-117.
  23. Hennion, Antoine and Geneviève Teil. 2004. “Le goût du vin. Pour une sociologie de l’attention.” Pp. 111-126 in Le goût de belles choses. Ethonologie de la relation esthétique, edited by V. Nahoum-Grappe and V. Odile. Paris: Edition de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.
  24. Hennion, Antoine. 2005. “Pragmatics of Taste.” Pp. 131-144 in The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture, edited by M. Jacobs and N. Hanrahan. Oxford: Blackwell.
  25. Hockey, John. 2006. „Sensing the run: The senses and distance running.” Senses and Society 1(2): 183–202.
  26. Hockey, John and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson. 2007. „Grasping the phenomenology of sporting Dobies.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 42(2): 115–131.
  27. Howes, David. 1990. “Les techniques des sens.” Anthropologie et Société 14(2): 99-115.
  28. Howes, David, ed. 1991. The Varieties of Sensory Experience. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  29. Howes, David, ed. 2005. Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Oxford & New York: Berg.
  30. Howes, David. 2005. „Skinscapes. Embodiment, Culture and Environment.” Pp. 27-39 in The Book of Touch, edited by C. Classen. Oxford: Berg Publishers.
  31. Howes, David. 2006. „Charting the Sensorial Revolution.” Senses and Society 1(1): 113-128.
  32. Ingold, Tim. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London: Routledge.
  33. Jakubowska, Honorata. 2017. Skill Transmission, Sport and Tacit Knowledge. A Sociological Perspective. Abington: Routledge.
  34. Keller, Reiner, Hubert Knoblauch and Jo Reichertz, ed. 2013. Kommunikativer Konstruktivismus. Theoretische und empirische Arbeiten zu einem neuen wissenssoziologischen Ansatz. Wiesbaden: Springer/VS.
  35. Knoblauch, Hubert. 2011. „Relativism, Meaning and the New Sociology of Knowledge.” Pp. 131-156 in The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge, edited by R. Schantz and M. Seidel. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag.
  36. Knoblauch, Hubert. 2013. “Communication Perspective and Mediatization.” Communication Theory 23: 297-315.
  37. Knoblauch, Hubert, Mark D. Jacobs and René Tuma. 2014. “Introduction: Culture, Communication, and Creativity.” Pp. 7-21 in Culture, Communication, and Creativity. Reframing the Relations of Media, Knowledge, and Innovation in Society, edited by H. Knoblauch, R. Tuma and M.D. Jacobs. Frankfurt, Bern, Brussels, New York, Oxford, Warschau, Wien: Peter Lang.
  38. Krebs, Stefan. 2014. “Dial Gauge versus Sense 1–0”: German Car Mechanics and the Introduction of New Diagnostic Equipment, 1950–1980.” Technology and Culture 55(2): 354–389.
  39. Lahne, Jacob. 2018. “Standard sensations: the production of objective experience from industrial technique.” The Senses and Society 13(1): 6-18.
  40. Latour, Bruno. 2004. “How to Talk About the Body? The Normative Dimension of Science Studies.” Body and Society 10(2–3): 205–229.
  41. Leder, Drew. 1990. The Absent Body, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  42. Liberman, Kenneth. 2013. „The Phenomenology of Coffee Tasting: Lessons in Practical Objectivity.” Pp. 215-266 In More studies in Ethnomethodology, by K. Liberman. New York: Suny Press.
  43. Luckmann, Thomas. 1975. The sociology of language. Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill.
  44. Marchand, Trevor H.J., 2008. „Muscles, moral and mind: Craft apprenticeship and the formation of person.” British Journal of Educational Studies 56(3): 245–271.
  45. Maslen, Sarah. 2015. „Researching the Senses as Knowledge.” The Senses and Society 10(1): 52-70.
  46. Mauss, Marcel. 1979[1935]. „Body techniques.” Pp. 95-123 in Sociology and psychology: essays, by M. Mauss. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  47. Montagu, Ashley. 1986. Touching. The Human Significance of the Skin. 3rd ed. New York: Harper and Row.
  48. Parr, Wendy, Dominique Valentin, James A. Green and Catherine Dacremont. 2010. “Evaluation of French and New Zealand Sauvignon wines by experienced French wine assessors.” Food Quality and Preference 21(1): 56-64.
  49. Paterson, Mark. 2007. The Senses of Touch. Haptics, Affects and Technologies. Oxford, New York: Berg.
  50. Paterson, Mark. 2009. „Haptic geographies: ethnography, haptic knowledges and sensuous dispositions.” Progress in Human Geography 33(6): 766–788.
  51. Perullo, Nicola. 2012. “Wineworld: Tasting, Making, Drinking, Being.” Rivista di Estetica 3: 3-48.
  52. Polanyi, Michael. 1958. Personal Knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  53. Polanyi, Michael. 1966. The Tacit Dimension. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  54. Porcello, Thomas. 2004. „Speaking of Sound: Language and the Professionalization of Sound Recording Engineers.” Social Studies of Science, 34(5): 733–758.
  55. Powis, Ben. 2018. “Visual impairment, sport and somatic work: the auditory experiences of blind and partially sighted cricket players.” The Senses and Society 13(2): 147-162.
  56. Rétiveau, Annlyse, Delores H. Chambers and Emilien Esteve. 2005. “Developing a lexicon for the flavour description of French cheeses.” Food Quality and Preferences 16(6): 517-527.
  57. Rice, Tom. 2010. „Learning to listen: auscultation and the transmission of auditory knowledge.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16: 41-61.
  58. Rice, Tom. 2013. Hearing and the Hospital: Sound, Listening, Knowledge and Experience. Canon Pyon: Sean Kingston Publishing.
  59. Rice, Tom and John Coltart. 2006. Getting a Sense of Listening: An Anthropological Perspective on Auscultation. The British Journal of Cardiology 13(1): 56–57.
  60. Rodaway, Paul. 1997. Sensuous Geographies. London & New York: Routledge.
  61. Schindler, Lisa. 2009. „The production of <>: An ethnographic video analysis of a martial arts class.” Pp. 135-154 in Video Interaction Analysis: Methods and Methodology, edited by U. Kissmann. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.
  62. Schütz, Alfred. 1974[1932]. The phenomenology of the social world. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
  63. Serres, Michel. 1985. Les cinq Sens. Paris: Grasset.
  64. Shapin, Steven. 2012. “The Tastes of Wine: Towards a cultural history”. Rivista di Estetica 3: 49-94.
  65. Shapin, Steven. 2016. “A taste of science: Making the subjective objective in the California wine world.” Social Studies of Science 46(3): 436-460.
  66. Sparkes, Andrew C. 2009. „Ethnography and the senses: Challenges and possibilities.” Qual-itative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health 1: 21–35.
  67. Sparkes, Andrew C. 2016. „Ethnography as a sensual way of being: Methodological and representational challenges.” Pp. 45-58 in Ethnographies in Sport and Exercise Research, edited by G. Molnar and L.G. Purdy. Abingdon: Routledge.
  68. Sterne, Jonathan. 2003. The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction. Durham: Duke University Press.
  69. Sutton, David. 2006. „Cooking Skills, the Senses, and Memory: The Fate of Practical Knowledge.” Pp. 87-118. in Sensible Objects. Colonialism, Museum and Material Culture, edited by E. Edwards, Ch. Gosden and Ruth B. Phillips. Oxford, New York: Berg.
  70. Teil, Geneviève. 1996. “Dire le goût : expression experte et naïve à propos du goût des fromages.” Revue Francaise du Marketing 156: 65-77.
  71. Teil, Geneviève 1998. „Devenir expert aromaticien : Y a-t-il une place pour le goût dans les goûts alimentaires ?” Sociologie du travail 40: 503-522.
  72. Teil, Geneviève. 2001. La production du jugement esthétique sur les vins par la critique vinicole. Sociologie du Travail 43(1): 67-89.
  73. Teil Geneviève and Antoine Hennion. 2004. „Discovering quality or performing taste? A sociology of the amateur.” Pp. 19-37 in Qualities of Food, edited by M. Harvey, A. McMeekin and A. Warde. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  74. Todd, Cain. 2012. “Expression and objectivity in the case of wine. Defending the aesthetic terroir of tastes and smells.” Rivista diEstetica 3: 96-116.
  75. Wathelet, Olivier. 2012 „Apprendre à voir. Pour une ethnographie cognitive des perceptions.” Revue francaise d’anthropologie 201: 121-130.
  76. Wathelet, Olivier. 2013. “Un exemple d'ethnographie cognitive des perceptions : les cheminements perceptifs de l'activité culinaire.” Pp. 145-175. in Ethnograpier les sens, edited by P. L. Colon. Paris: Petra.