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Accepted Paper:

From playing with a kite to rethink control and responsibility over life and death in an entangled world  

Author:

Roberta Raffaetà (Cà Foscari Venice University)

Paper short abstract:

I will illustrate how the personal experience of the limit in so-called extreme sports has nourished my anthropological imagination by reconfiguring control as tuning with life forces and responsibility as finding the right rhythm between survival and extinction

Paper long abstract:

In my presentation, I will illustrate how the personal experience of the limit in so-called extreme sports has nourished my anthropological imagination. In my personal encounter with the limit as a professional in sports such as kitesurf and alpine ski, the limit has constituted both an occasion to interfere with the currents of life by blending with them and the challenge of not being overwhelmed by these currents. The experience of the limit, for accomplished kitesurfers or skiers, is to play with the vital energies within and around them, yet keeping the control over their body. Control, in this experience, configures not as a dominative act but as the ability of a body to accommodate transformations while enduring and surviving. Control is not control-over-something, rather is a rhythm. My sport experiences have influenced my work in anthropology. It explores the implications of adopting an ecosystemic understanding of health, one that conceives health not as a property of bodies but as an emergent property of a dynamic pattern of entanglements. I try to understand what it means to live well and survive in a world in which, by necessity, we nurture but also hurt each other through the very fact of living. To try to answer this question reconfigures responsibility as finding the right rhythm between survival and extinction. In other words: is it really worth to overcome the limit or there is more to be gained by practicing it?

Panel Exti02b
For an anthropology of the limit II