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Body/mind as space(s) of struggle and experiment: explorations, expansions and experience(s) of human limits
Reda Satuniene (Siauliai University)
Anna Zadro┼╝na (University of Oslo)
Ieva Paberzyte (McGill University)
Time zone:
Friday 24 July, 14:00-15:45

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.