The cultural phenomenology of movement
Bernhard Leistle (Carleton University)
Julie Laplante (University of Ottawa)
Moving bodies: Affects, Movement and Stillness/Corps mouvants: Affects, mouvement et repos
VNR 3035
Start time:
3 May, 2017 at 8:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Our panel wants to look at the phenomenological interrelationship between the experience of movement and cultural systems of meaning. We ask how concrete bodily movements simultaneously express and produce culture. Papers can address this question from empirical or theoretical perspectives.

Long abstract:

The phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty has referred to the experience of movement as a "praktognosia", an original way of knowing the world. Phenomenology has shown, moreover, that movement and perception are inextricably intertwined with each other: every appearance of the world suggests a way of moving one's body, and every bodily movement immediately translates into a changed perception of the world. It is from the incessant interplay between these aspects that experiential reality arises, over time producing the structures of meaningful experience that anthropologists call "culture". When anthropologists study corporeal movement, however, they tend to focus on the ways in which gestures, practices and habits express existing, historically grown systems of cultural meanings and social contexts. Relatively rarely are they concerned with the question how lived experiences of movement are also constitutive of the meanings they express. For our panel we invite papers which aspire to do just that, to connect corporeal movement as a mode of experience to the emergence, transformation, construction and, possibly, destruction of socio-cultural worlds. Papers can approach the topic empirically or theoretically; they can focus on the experience of one's own movements or of others, including non-human entities and agents. As for theoretical perspective, we welcome papers in the area of phenomenology broadly conceived, that is including other approaches concerned with experience, e.g. performative anthropology, psychoanalysis, neuropsychology, semiotics. Empirical topics are open, but we regard the areas of ritual, politics, arts and sports as particularly fertile for demonstrating the phenomenological interrelationship between motility and culture.