Glossary of cultural somatic terms

Here are some terms and concepts that form the core of our articulation of cultural Somatics. Please feel free to refer to these terms we have stewarded along with attribution that you feel comfortable with:

Cultural soma
The invisible sensing, feeling, and thinking body that emerges out of networks of complex relationships.

Cultural nervous system
The nervous system of cultural somas.

Cultural attachment
The concept that we form attachment relationships with cultural somas. Cultural somas can also form attachment relationships with one anothe e.g. white culture has an attachment relationship to ancestral European cultures. Also independently termed by indigenous social worker Estelle Simard.

Cultural attachment pattern
Securities and insecurities in cultural attachment can manifest in patterns that parallel attachment patterns articulated in standard attachment theory. e.g. cultural appropriation can be seen as a behavior that arises from anxious cultural attachment.

Cultural somatic context
The cultural context of a body, impacted by everything from furniture, clothes, customs, medicine, and other key cultural factors.

Cultural posture
Even though cultural somas are invisible by nature, they can be understood to have postural qualities like rigid or supple, just like our fleshy local bodies.

Cultural dissociation (privilege)
Cultural somatics understands terms that describe systemic oppression through the language of neurology. In the case of privilege, it is understood as a dissociative mechanism in the cultural nervous system that protects privileged identities from processing trauma.

Trauma diversity

Trauma diversity refers to the phenomenon of how trauma held in cultural somas interact with our natural diversities in terms of race, culture, gender, neuro-divergence, and so on, to manifest diverse trauma experiences associated with different groups, as originally explored through the ‘intersectionality’, a concept brought forth by black feminists and crystallized in the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw (who coined the term).