Representing and Performing Taste at Wine Festivals: A Somatic, Layered Account

Document Type


Publication Date



Sensuous scholarship refers to research about the human senses, through the senses, and for the senses. Sensuous scholarship asks us to recognize the meaningfulness of our somatic experience of the world, to understand the skilful activities through which we actively make and remake the world through our senses, and to develop evocative strategies of representation— to write sensuously. In this article, the authors reflect on one particular genre of sensuous scholarship, which they refer to as the somatic layered account. The authors draw upon participant observation data collected at wine festivals at seven sites scattered across western British Columbia and Southern California. The authors examine how people express taste sensations and preferences to others, as well as what role wine’s material properties play in these social dramas. In formulating and developing the concepts of somatic accounts, taste vocabularies, and somatic joint acts, the authors contribute to a growing understanding of the social aspects of the senses and of sensations, as well as how people perceive the material world—and the sense of taste in particular—in active and reflexive ways.


Sociology and Corrections

Publication Title

Qualitative Inquiry