MMM25
Exploring the moving body: movement, materiality and lived experience

Convenors:
Andrew Irving (University of Manchester)
Discussant:
Nigel Rapport and Kit Davis
Location:
Schuster Lab Blackett
Start time:
8 August, 2013 at 14:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The human body cannot exist in stasis. Movement is essential to life and a precondition of perception, experience and knowledge. The panel invites all kinds of theoretical, ethnographic, sensory, experimental and methodological approaches to the study of movement in social and cultural life.

Long abstract:

The human body cannot exist in stasis. Movement is essential to life and a precondition of perception, experience and knowledge, right down to the movements of proteins and molecules found in organic and non-organic matter. Every human movement creates the potential for a new social, existential and political reality. From formalised movements found on a production-line, prison or gymnasium to spontaneous, resistant and idiosyncratic forms, movement coordinates intentionality and action to shape our lived experience of the world. We all have the capacity to move but not necessarily under the circumstances of our choosing. Thomas Hobbes defined liberty as 'nothing but the absence of restraints to movement', illustrating how control over movement is a key means by which power manifests itself and shaping people's lives. What is at stake—this panel asks—in the capacity to move? What are the possibilities and constraints of the moving body? How does movement exist in life? Or in non-life? Or in objects and materials? Movement, once understood as a lived, whole-body experience indivisibly combining complex assemblages of thought, emotion and sensory experiences with heart-rate, lungs, muscles and nerves, reveals how seemingly congruent forms of social-action (commuting, working, migrating) and environments (streets, dancehalls, landscapes) might be experienced radically differently between individuals and groups. Movement is not only way of belonging to the world but of belonging to it in a particular way. The panel invites all kinds of theoretical, ethnographic, sensory, experimental and methodological approaches to understanding movement in social and cultural life.