Developing a phenomenological theory of the body which focuses on the analysis of movement, Jaana Parviainen outlines in new terms the dancing subject in contemporary dance, exploring the cognitive and ethical values of dance practice and danceworks. The present study explains the moral issues of dance art not only as representation or symbolic presentation, but with the human body itself as the standpoint from which moral issues emerge, as the subject of action itself. Developing a philosophical dance discourse, Parviainen brings both Western philosophy as a tradition of thinking and Western dance as a tradition of bodily movement into a mutual dialogue.
The ontological standpoint is Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception and its theory of the body. In addition to Merleau-Ponty's theory of the body, the study draws on the work of David Michael Levin,, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and Martin Heidegger.