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 considering that Foucault, Noland keeps that kinesthetic event, produced through acts of embodied gesturing, areas strain at the conditioning a physique gets, encouraging adaptations in cultural perform that can't rather be defined.
Drawing on paintings in disciplines as diversified as dance and circulate conception, phenomenology, cognitive technological know-how, and literary feedback, Noland argues that kinesthesia―feeling the physique move―encourages test, amendment, and, every now and then, rejection of the regimen. Noland privileges corporeal functionality and the sensory event it offers so as to give you the option past constructivist theory’s lack of ability to provide a resounding account of supplier. She observes that regardless of the influence of social conditioning, people proceed to invent wonderful 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 obstacle to students in severe conception, functionality reports, anthropology, and visible studies.
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Additional info for Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures Producing Culture
Our bodies have become sculpted in such a way that the acquired technique now feels more “natural” than what we did before. Blind to the contortions demanded, we no longer sense kinesthetically the impact of our movements on our tendons, ligaments, and bones. However, as the Maori example shows, nonconformity, subversion, and correction undoubtedly exist. Evidence drawn from the evolution of more autonomous athletic or aesthetic techniques, such as swimming or dancing, shows that even within one culture techniques of the body do change over time.
Mauss’s anecdotes imply that culture is strong enough, its languages sufﬁciently persuasive, to divorce the meaning of gestures from the way they make the body feel. A gesture can be semanticized, made to mean something for a particular culture (being a woman), even if executing it means something quite different on the kinesthetic register (being in pain). Perhaps for this reason, the natural movements of the body, the default positions it would most likely assume in order to accomplish a task, appear irretrievable.
Touch, then, does not occur in a vacuum but establishes (and is the result of) culturally differentiated modes of kinesis. Touch isn’t simply touch but soft touch, rough touch, consistent touch, or rhythmic, punctual touch, all of which imply and stimulate speciﬁc ways of moving, using the muscles, and then feeling the way these muscle sets have been used. The social, or intersubjective, element of the tactile contact inheres not only in the fact of being touched—a universal precondition for the emergence of subjectivity—but also in the way one is touched—a culturally differentiated precondition for the emergence of subjectivity.