Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2005 | 49 | 1-2 | 17-29

Article title



Selected contents from this journal

Title variants

Languages of publication



Min Tanaka, the master of the Japanese dance 'butoh' began his address at the Barcelona congress dedicated to dance with the following words: 'We live with our bodies and we perceive the world by keeping the eyes of our bodies open'. The statement is provocative in it obviousness. The 'movement' aspect of all forms of human activity is undeniable, yet it is rarely noticed. We move, i.e. use movement, we emit movement, movement is a means of transmission of many signals and signs, significant as elements of human communication. They are the a u x i l i a r y m e a n s of speech, supportive to the basic language transmission. (Guiraud 1974, Birdwhistell 1952) or the 'communicative aspects of the learnt and structurized behaviour of a moving body' (Birdwhistell 1952). When, in the mid 1970s, the authoress started her studies on movement symbolism, terms such as 'non-verbal communication', 'anthropology of the body', 'kinesics', or 'proxemics' were, as a matter of fact, only coming into use and works by Edward Hall, Ray Birdwhistell, Michael Argyle, Umberto Eco and other scholars dealing with the subject were not available in Poland for obvious reasons. The Hidden Dimension by Edward Hall was translated into Polish in 1976, the first works of Umberto Eco in 1972. Books by Argyle and Birdwhistell are known only in original versions and to narrow circles of specialists till now. Both kinesics and proxemics are close to particular approaches in cultural anthropology. They all concern the problems of human understanding of the surrounding world and human self-reflection. Within the recent 10-15 years the world has 'shrunken'. Coming into touch with 'the others' which earlier was experienced only by the minority, now is more and more common. We learn foreign languages, we also learn the 'body language' which,being the common feature of all human beings, is by no means unequivocal, contrary to what was believed and is sometimes still believed. Besides the gestures and movements which are really universal being determined by the body build, there are also some, as numerous as the former ones, which are culture-related. The article deals with the role of forms and means of self-presentation in contemporary culture.Most interesting for me is the problem if, having gained particular knowledge on non-verbal codes as well as the awareness of their existence, we know how to use them. At this stage of my studies I concentrated on the scope of the usage of body language. Quite narrow as a matter of fact, focused on manipulating people and watching their reactions and movements in order to reveal their hidden motives. Knowledge of 'movement, another area of speech' treated in this way, instead of being the key to the cognition of man becomes no more than a picklock.









Physical description

Document type



  • J. Kowalska, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, Zaklad Etnologii, al. Solidarnosci 105, 00-140 Warszawa, Poland


Document Type

Publication order reference


CEJSH db identifier

YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.