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1 Embodiment and Agency SO4025: Lecture 4 16 October, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Embodiment and Agency SO4025: Lecture 4 16 October, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Embodiment and Agency SO4025: Lecture 4 16 October, 2007

2 2 Outline Finish Bourdieu –Critical commentary Merleau-Ponty –Body-subject –Corporeal schema –Habit –Criticisms Leders absent body –Bodily dys-appearance –Criticisms

3 3 Bourdieu: Critical Comments Extremely influential approach Arguments re: determinism –Individuals engage in fields before they have incorporated their structures –Social fields change in unpredictable ways –Individuals act beyond the habitus

4 4 Merleau-Ponty Effort to overcome mind/body (subject/ object) dualism The body/subject –Knowing/doing –Self/body –Intention/action –Body/environment Corporeal schema: bodily know how –External objects –Social interactions Habit: behaviour derived from corporeal schema Power and freedom

5 5 Merleau-Ponty: Critical Comments Fails to account for power relations Implies bodily universals Discontinuous unity of female embodiment

6 6 The Absent Body (Leder 1990) The body is the basis of human existence Yet, much of the body fades from conscious awareness –It serves as a corporeal background The body reappears: –New skills –Positive physical sensations –Negative bodily experiences

7 7 Bodily Dys-appearance The body dys-appears due to: –Failure to perform –Pain –Negative emotions Dys-appearances are: –Acute or chronic –Threatening –Motivating They can also be social –The objectifying gaze

8 8 Dys-ing Leder Shilling (2003) –Sees the body as marginal to the self –Underestimates continual nature of body projects –Ignores the embodied reality of social inequality Nettleton and Watson (1998) –Methodological critique –Healthy people should be unable to speak about their bodily experiences

9 9 And my defence… Re: Shillings criticism –Leders absent body can dys-appear frequently –It may also be continually present –Social dys-appearance is based in power differences Re: Nettleton and Watson –Dys-appearance is not the only form of bodily awareness –The absent body can be accessed (and studied) in a variety of ways

10 10 Summary Bourdieu –Social fields, capital and habitus –Overly deterministic? Merleau-Ponty –Body-subject, body schema, habit –Ignores power relations? Leder –Absent but dys-appearing body –Material and methodological problems?

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