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Deliberating Bodies

Democracy, Identification, and Embodiment

Amanda Machin

The significance of embodiment has long been overlooked in theories of deliberative democracy. Deliberation is characterized by inclusive and rational discussion that functions in an allegedly neutral and abstract space. This article draws attention to the bodies between which political interaction always occurs. Bodies have important yet unpredictable effects for political interaction and can extend or disorder the careful conscious conversation invoked by deliberative democrats. Identities are reproduced by bodies, and bodies may conform to or transform their identifications. Using Merleau-Ponty's notion of habitual knowledge, the article argues that bodies provide limitations, capacities, and opportunities for democratic politics. At the same time, bodies and their identifications are themselves transformed through deliberation and other types of political experience.

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The Embodiment of Learning and Teaching

The Enigma of Non-arrival

Nigel Rapport and Noa Vaisman

How people arrive at their convictions, and how they come to change them, remain immensely difficult questions. This article approaches convictions as manifestations of individuals' embodiment, and as allegories of their lives. As well as a rehearsing of moments of his own embodied learning, the main author engages in an email exchange with the second author, pondering how he might answer her questions about an anthropological methodology which more nearly approaches others' embodied experiences: the convictions represented by informants' words and behaviours. The article ends inconclusively. An individual's knowledge of body and self is part of that body and self, situated amid world-views and life-projects. Alongside the radical otherness of anthropologists' informants is the relative otherness of anthropologists to themselves. Our disciplinary conclusions concerning convictions, own and other, must remain provisional and open.

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For Belief

Embodiment and Immanence in Catholicism and Mormonism

Jon P. Mitchell and Hildi J. Mitchell

This article argues for belief, suggesting that the reason why anthropologists might have moved against belief is their persistent attachment to a linguistic model of religion that sees the job of the anthropologist of religion as being one of translation. In such a model, the absence of the word 'belief' signals the absence of the process. We argue for the enduring utility of belief, not as a linguistic category, but as a description of experiential processes at the heart of religion. Using examples from popular Catholicism and Mormonism, we contend that such processes are rooted in the body. Through bodily practice and performance, religion is generated as an immanent force in the world—people come to believe.

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Synthetic Beings and Synthespian Ethics

Embodiment Technologies in Science/Fiction

Jane Stadler

-cloning technologies. Virtual Human Research: Technologies of Embodiment Jonathan Gratch, a computer scientist and psychologist who leads research into virtual humans and the relationship between cognition and emotion at the Institute for Creative Technologies

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Noisy Lives, Noisy Bodies

Exploring the Sensorial Embodiment of Class

Camilla Hoffmann Merrild, Peter Vedsted, and Rikke Sand Andersen

from that of more privileged classes. In many ways, our findings point towards what has been termed the embodiment of social inequality ( Fassin 2003 ), which refers to the ways in which biological facts become social facts and vice versa, and how

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Christopher Howard and Wendelin Küpers

connections. Developed from a phenomenological and processual understanding of place, embodiment, and technology, the article especially highlights the role that mobile technologies play in mediating and reconfiguring perceptions of place and space

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Neither Shadow nor Spectre

Populism as the Ideological Embodiment of the Democratic Paradox

Anthony Lawrence Borja

the ambiguous relationship between populism and democracy? This question is an old one, and this article addresses it by illustrating that populism is the ideological embodiment of the democratic paradox. It locates populism alongside the dilemmas and

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The Tacit Logic of Ritual Embodiments

Rappaport and Polanyi between Thick and Thin

Robert E. Innis

Roy Rappaport’s attempted semiotic schematization of the logic of ritual, relying on analytical tools from C. S. Peirce’s philosophical semiotics, is examined in terms of both its conceptual coherence and its relation to other schematizations of ritual, especially Michael Polanyi’s thematization of a ‘tacit logic’ of meaning-making. The Peircean foregrounding of sign types (icons, indices, symbols) is compared to Polanyi’s delineation of an irreducible from-to structure of consciousness, rooted in the distinction between focal and subsidiary awareness, and to his further distinction between indication and symbolization as ways of relating to and effecting symbolic complexes, such as rituals. One of the startling upshots of this comparison is that the distinctions between ‘thick ritual’ and ‘thin ritual,’ and between art and ritual, become extremely labile. Examples from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philip Larkin, and Simone Weil illustrate this last point.

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Deborah Stienstra

Recently global attention has been directed to the situations of girls and boys with disabilities, yet research tells us little about the experiences and perspectives of girls with disabilities except that their lives are filled with barriers, violence and stigma. I explore how girlhood studies can authentically include girls with disabilities. Drawing on feminist disability studies, I argue that we can use intersectional theory to identify and include the experiences of girls with disabilities, and explore diverse embodiments of girlhood. In doing this we can remove the trump card of disability and see disabled girls as an integral part of girlhood and girlhood studies.

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Beata Stawarska

This article discusses experimental studies of facial imitation in infants in the light of Sartre's and Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological theories of embodiment. I argue that both Sartre's account of the gaze of the other and Merleau-Ponty's account of the reversibility of the flesh provide a fertile ground for interpreting the data demonstrating that very young infants can imitate facial expressions of adults. Sartre's and Merleau-Ponty's accounts of embodiment offer, in my view, a desirable alternative to the dominant mentalistic interpretation of facial imitation in terms of the theory of mind.