By Carrie Noland
In Agency and Embodiment, Carrie Noland examines the ways that tradition is either embodied and challenged during the corporeal functionality of gestures. Arguing opposed to the constructivist metaphor of physically inscription dominant for the reason that Foucault, Noland keeps that kinesthetic adventure, produced through acts of embodied gesturing, locations strain at the conditioning a physique gets, encouraging diversifications in cultural perform that can't rather be defined.
Drawing on paintings in disciplines as various as dance and flow thought, phenomenology, cognitive technological know-how, and literary feedback, Noland argues that kinesthesia―feeling the physique move―encourages test, amendment, and, from time to time, rejection of the regimen. Noland privileges corporeal functionality and the sensory adventure it gives with a view to have the ability past constructivist theory’s lack of ability to provide a powerful account of supplier. She observes that regardless of the influence of social conditioning, people proceed to invent miraculous 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 predicament 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
The Maori daughter’s nonconformity receives no direct explanation in “Techniques of the Body”; yet it is possible to prise one from Mauss’s text. While speaking of the traditional context for technique acquisition, he notes that for the subject who is learning how to execute the sequence of gestures, the technique “is felt (senti) by the person executing it to be a mechanical, physical, or physico-chemical act” (SA, 372). What Mauss is saying is that most of the time, techniques of the body, or “actes montés,” “feel” automatic, inevitable, and natural, because—like a sleeping position or gait—they have been subsumed as a faculty.
Although there is no way to be certain, I suspect that Mauss’s understanding of the nature of gesture dawns here, at the moment when he learns not only how the fetal position provides the “sacriﬁant” with the kinesthetic experience of closing and reopening—interpreted through the symbolic system as death and rebirth—but also how the members of the audience are offered the same profound physical experience through kinesthetic empathy. 31 Arguably, by observing the subject roll up into a ball, members of the audience are able to achieve a mild sensation, through kinesthetic memory, of the same movement and are invited to associate it with a symbolic meaning provided by the dharma, the teachings of the religion.
If the physical body could be inﬂuenced in its most seemingly autonomous mechanisms by social pressures, then it made no sense to separate psychology from sociology, or sociology from physiology, for that matter. Sociology, as an approach, could invade the entire spectrum of human sciences, just as the social penetrated every layer of human being. As Mauss argues in “Real and Practical Relations between Psychology and Sociology” (“Rapports réels et pratiques de la psychologie et de la sociologie,” 1924), the barriers between the disciplines are artiﬁcially constructed, and thus the knowledges they engender are necessarily ﬂawed.
Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures Producing Culture by Carrie Noland