Theorising on Social and Embodied Aspects of Contemplative Practices


13 – 14 July 2016, University of Tampere

– International workshop


What new ideas and alternative forms of embodied training could be introduced to the currently narrow field of mindfulness research? How can we conceptualise contemplative practices in a manner taking into account the embodied, methodological, ideological, technological, religious and gendered relations inherent in it? How is fluid self-knowledge of ‘lived body experience’ mediated in meditative mindfulness training?  How does people’s ‘affective’ or ‘lived body’ experience in MBIs diverge from the medical conceptions of soma and psyche found in existing discourse on MBIs? In this two-day workshop, we carry the various discussions forward and answer these questions:   The main speakers specify, discuss, and problematize the various definitions of mindfulness.

Today, mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are one of the most widespread and widely studied bodily skill in working life and therapy alike. In the last 35 years, international mindfulness and meditation research has focused on medical and psychological aspects of their study. However, there is a dearth of diverse research perspectives on it in the humanities, social sciences and political economics (Cook 2010; Stanley 2012; Purser 2012; Kortelainen, et al. 2014; Barker 2014; Williams 2014; Ferguson 2016; Farias&Wikholm 2015). Various authors have pointed out that the ‘dark side’ of MBIs has not yet been discussed, investigated, or empirically explored in much depth.  This workshop is aimed at developing examination of the new contributions, research-methodology and pitfalls of mindfulness-oriented practices.


Confirmed speakers:

Professor Ronald Purser (San Francisco State University)

Associate Professor Suvi Salmenniemi (University of Turku)

Associate Professor John R. Williams (Yale University)

Lecturer Steven Stanley (Cardiff University)

Dr. and clinical psychologist Catherine Wikholm

Researcher Kristina Eichel (Köln University/ Brown University)

Researcher Marianne Hedegaard (University of Copenhagen)

Docent Timo Klemola (University of Tampere)

Postdoctoral researcher Pessi Lyyra (University of Tampere)

Teemu Kangas (M.F.A, graduated from Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki)

Documentarist Wille Hyvönen (Aalto University)

Dr. Karen Terzano, (Meditation-teacher, psychologist)

Postdoctoral researcher Antti Saari (University of Tampere)

Postdoctoral researcher Ilmari Kortelainen (University of Tampere)

Organising committee:

Posdoctoral researcher Ilmari Kortelainen

Posdoctoral researcher Antti Saari

PhD-student Suvi Lehtonen

PhD-student Jani Pulkki

Researcher Mikko Väänänen



Tapio Santala (Philosophy)

Johanna Kallio (Education)


Further information:,

Workshop in Facebook

Workshop is organized by TaSTI: Research Centre for Knowledge, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies and School of Education.


This workshop is funded by University of Tampere and The Finnish Work Environment Fund