Accepted Paper:

Body and place: techniques, arts, crafts and skills  

Author:

Katrin Alekand (University of Tartu)

Paper short abstract:

M.Mauss stated that there is no natural behaviour and all techniques of the body are learned and taught. We can also say: there is no such thing as natural body, all our bodies are customized and altered using different arts and crafts. Techniques and arts of the body are strongly related.

Paper long abstract:

M.Mauss stated that there is no natural behaviour, all techniques of the body are learned and taught. We can also say: there is no such thing as natural body, all bodies are customized and altered using different arts and crafts. Techniques and arts of the body are strongly related.

The techniques of the body Mauss examined can be categorized as instrumental - it is body in motion, in action. But our bodies make other react long before we take any move or say any word. The way we have customized our bodies starts dialogues between us from the very first glimpse. Traditional arts of the altered bodies are strongly related to body-tissues and mainly to our biggest organ: skin. Compared to other species human skin has very unique characteristics and human being is the only animal who modifies its own body deliberately, often very painfully. Techniques for altering one's body are usually very resource-consuming. It takes both money and time to become customized and crafted as one's desired out-speaking embodied self.

For a long time arts of customizing body have been located both in geographical place, related to a certain culture, and socio-cultural place, related to a person's social position. Last century has been a wild period of melting, mixing, combining and developing of traditional arts of the body and techniques of the body that has a wide variations of results. From creativity to hate-speeches.

Panel P17
Body, corporeality and configuration: the affective body in the vortex of culture, identity and communication