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Body/mind as space(s) of struggle and experiment: explorations, expansions and experience(s) of human limits 
Reda Satuniene (Vilnius University)
Anna Zadrożna (University of Oslo)
Ieva Paberzyte (McGill University)
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Friday 24 July, 8:30-10:30 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This panel addresses corporeal and/or spiritual practices, perspectives, traditions and inventions that challenge and/or expand human limits and abilities in search for a "better human" and well-being, as well as their outcomes, legal/ethical aspects, and channels of popularization.

Long Abstract

Current, highly competitive human existence (overworking, precarity, acceleration) impacts both mind and body causing fatigue, anxiety, frustration, pain and exhaustion, or even chronic illnesses. In this context, human body has become a space of constant struggle: we witness series of individual and collective actions, targeted towards re-shaping, re-generating, and re-understanding human body and mind, both reflected in new ideologies, emerging lifestyles, and life-strategies. Practices challenging human abilities and/or expanding human limits manifest strongly as corporeal and/or spiritual: ultra-marathons, trail runnings, eclectic forms of body-mind training, breathing techniques, mindfulness, or use of entheogens are just examples of what can be seen as "biohacking", indicating self-directed DIY experiments in search for a "better human". In addition to/instead of medical consultations and interventions, Internet, popular media and social networks become the source of "know-how" regarding the use of drugs/medicaments, dieting, sports and human psychology and well-being.

We invite papers that explore:

Historical perspectives on athletics, fitness, well-being;

Contemporary self-directed body/mind practices that lead to crossing/challenging one's limits;

The quest for a "better human"; alternative understandings of body/mind, attempts to re-invent and re-think a human being;

Inventions and traditions in/beyond Europe; marginal lifestyles, subcultures, movements; body/mind practices on the peripheries;

The role of Internet, popular media and social networks in popularizing body/mind practices;

Self-directed DIY experiments with body/mind; sources of knowledge, outcomes, the questions of credibility, authority and trust;

Legal and ethical questions and issues regarding body/mind, health and well-being.

Accepted papers: