Download Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures Producing Culture by Carrie Noland PDF

By Carrie Noland

In Agency and Embodiment, Carrie Noland examines the ways that tradition is either embodied and challenged in the course of the corporeal functionality of gestures. Arguing opposed to the constructivist metaphor of physically inscription dominant due to the fact that Foucault, Noland continues that kinesthetic event, produced through acts of embodied gesturing, locations strain at the conditioning a physique gets, encouraging adaptations in cultural perform that can't rather be defined.

Drawing on paintings in disciplines as different as dance and circulate idea, phenomenology, cognitive technology, and literary feedback, Noland argues that kinesthesia―feeling the physique move―encourages test, amendment, and, now and then, rejection of the regimen. Noland privileges corporeal functionality and the sensory adventure it offers that allows you to have the ability past constructivist theory’s lack of ability to provide a resounding account of supplier. She observes that regardless of the effect of social conditioning, humans proceed to invent superb new methods of changing the inscribed behaviors they're referred to as directly to practice. via lucid shut readings of Marcel Mauss, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, invoice Viola, André Leroi-Gourhan, Henri Michaux, Judith Butler, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Derrida, and modern electronic artist Camille Utterback, Noland illustrates her provocative thesis, addressing problems with problem to students in severe concept, functionality reports, anthropology, and visible studies.

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Although he wrote “Techniques of the Body” near the end of his career, according to his student André-Georges Haudricourt, Mauss had been building the conceptual groundwork for a study of bodily techniques from very early on. As Haudricourt recounts: “In his courses, Mauss insisted on the necessity of gathering as much information as possible on the use and function of the object collected for the museum. ’”7 For Haudricourt, then, it was the museologist’s contemplation of stationary cultural artifacts that instigated an inquiry into how T H E “ S T R U C T U R I N G ” B O DY 23 they had been made.

9 While the passage from “Techniques of the Body” quoted above certainly associates tactile contact with psychosexual maturation, it is also clear that for Mauss touch is always framed by specific bodily techniques—gestures, ways of ambulating or bearing weight—requiring movement. Mauss, then, is more concrete here than Butler; for him, touch presupposes a specific way of touching. In Mauss’s example, the “contacts de sexes et de peaux” require a reaction on the muscular level: to maintain contact, the infant must grip.

Moving from birthing techniques to carrying techniques, Mauss then describes the advanced physical accomplishment of the infant-toddler who must learn to cling by means of his or her inner thighs to the mother’s hip in cultures where mothers are in constant contact with their offspring. In contrast, babies held in a harness or stroller suffer a slight physical retardation in comparison with the babies who move more freely, and thus develop a muscularly molded body at an earlier age. Referring to the technique of the body that the infant slung on the hip acquires, Mauss glosses: “It is a remarkable gymnastique feat [gymnastique] for the baby, T H E “ S T R U C T U R I N G ” B O DY 25 essential for life.

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