P53
Querying the body multiple: enactment, encounters and ethnography

Convenors:
Mwenza Blell (Newcastle University)
Chair:
Salla Sariola (University of Oxford)
Location:
Science Site/Chemistry CG91
Start time:
5 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This panel explores the notion of body multiple and its implications.

Long abstract:

The body and embodiment have been central to anthropological literature, exploring the ways in which communities and individuals live in their bodies. It is argued that different human bodies are enacted, that is, imagined and formed, in different contexts by different actors. Recently, for example Annmarie Mol, Judith Farquhar, and Margaret Lock have argued that rather than there being a universal, singular, body, the body is better thought of as body multiple. Indeed, this literature points to connections and overlaps with other people and non-humans, suggesting that embodiment is a collective process. In order to understand how this multiplicity is enacted, one has to appreciate that there are various practices of self care (for example, including body modification and enhancement), socio-political structuring (affecting, for example, access to food and healthcare), and scientific practices (for example, diagnostic testing and body measurement), among others, which all come to bear in this multiplication. Anthropologists from different sub-disciplines have unique and important contributions to make in this potentially greater overall understanding of the body and embodiment. It would help to explain the observed heterogeneity in approaches to the human body conceptually as well as for the implications of scientific and medical application. The panel aims to explore the notion of the body multiple using ethnographic contributions from a range of contexts. Contributions are invited from anthropologists of any sub-discipline interested in these ideas.