Accepted paper:

Mauss Trap: caught in a "flowment"


Patrick Laviolette (New Europe College / UCL)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents phenomenological material that deals with the embodied flow moments of risky adventure. In considering the human body as a trap in its own right, the comparative basis for the presentation are the activities of urban exploration and auto-stop travel.

Paper long abstract:

In the Maussian tradition of reflecting upon techniques of the body, this presentation shall consider how the human body itself can act as a trapping device. It does so by exploring voluntary risk rituals as they relate to the experiential in terms of adventurous recreation. By comparing the corporeal camouflage necessary in the 'concealed' act of urban exploration with the 'public' waiting game of luring a car as a hitch-hiker, or the vulnerability of 'hidden' moments when confined as an unwitting passenger, I question what happens when those people who are perhaps more prone to taking risks than others get hooked, or are even ensnared, into a lifestyle which propagates danger for its own sake. Of course there are important ethical and methodological considerations here. Yet maybe it is less obvious and thus just as significant to untangle such issues/themes as social contagion, the potential for behavioural mimicry or even the reaches of undesirable cultural infection. As a tangible material artefact with affective sensoria, the potential for unpredictable synaesthetic crossings and many emotional idiosyncrasies, the human form is a critical instrument for such outcomes as well as other such trapping techniques.

panel P116
Anthropological traps