Accepted Paper:

Embodied Knowledge and its Representation  


Vilma Santiago-Irizarry (Cornell University)

Paper short abstract:

I here address the conceptual and methodological potential and implications in using Laban's system of movement analysis and notation in anthropological work.

Paper long abstract:

Given its evanescence, how can movement be subjected to epistemological analysis? How can we discern its mediating function and power in myriad human activities? I here address how, presuming the need to record and codify movement for it to be legible and referable was taken on by Rudolf Laban through his system of movement analysis and notation. This work partakes of modernist projects that pursue the objectification and specification of human conduct—movement, in this case--with the ultimate goal of (ostensibly) rendering it transparent, logical, and knowable. Significantly, Laban's analytical schemata have been extended beyond their initial context of production in theatre and dance performance to be applied in other domains--therapy, education, the assembly line—in which embodied knowledge is particularly salient. Yet they remain both conceptually and methodologically under-explored in anthropology.

Panel P038
A clinical anthropology of art: theoretical, practical and disciplinary implications