Glossary

The following is an incomplete list of ideas, people and practices that relate to the themes and questions of THIS MOVEMENT in some way.

BIOLOGICAL / SOMATIC CITIZENSHIP

Nikolas Rose and Carlos Novas use the term ‘biological citizenship’“descriptively, to encompass all those citizenship projects that have linked their conceptions of citizens to beliefs about the biological existence of human beings, as individuals, as families and lineages, as communities, as population and races, and as a species.” (Rose and Novas 2003 p2)

Rose goes on to set out how the conceptions of biological citizenship“recode the duties, rights, and expectations of human beings in relation to their sickness, and also to their life itself, reorganize the relations between individuals and their biomedical authorities, and reshape the ways in which human beings relate to themselves as “somatic individuals.” This is linked to the rise of what I term a “somatic ethics”—ethics not in the sense of moral principles, but rather as the values for the conduct of a life—that accords a central place to corporeal, bodily existence.” (Rose 2006)

While these perspectives take a largely medicalised view of the body there is potential scope for this idea of somatic ethics to be expanded or appropriated to include alternative, creative accounts of the body (MacPherson 2014).

MacPherson, H. 2014. ‘Somatic Citizenship‘ in Choreographing Politics

Rose, N. 2006. The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First CenturyPrinceton University Press

Rose, N. and Novas, C. 2003. Biological Citizenship

CHOREOCRACY

Choreocracy is a method of governance involving the organisation of people’s movements and bodies. The term is taken from The Hospitality, a game by Tova Gerge, Ebba Petrén and Gabriel Widing in which they describe a history of choreocracy from Ancient Greece to an imagined future.

The term was used differently by journalist Ravish Kumar in 2015, complaining that “We [in India] are living in a virtual democracy and are made to believe that we are proud of that democracy. However, all the information is choreographed into events and voters have changed into an audience. There is an entertainment aspect in today’s politics,” 

CONCEPTUAL METAPHOR

Conceptual metaphor is an idea in cognitive linguistics first extensively explored by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their 1980 bookMetaphors We Live By. Within this idea is the understanding that abstract concepts (e.g. morality) are typically understood in terms of concrete ones (e.g. cleanliness). Lackoff states that “A large proportion of our most commonplace thoughts make use of an extensive, but unconscious, system of metaphorical concepts, that is, concepts from a typically concrete realm of thought that are used to comprehend another, completely different domain. Such concepts are often reflected in everyday language, but their most dramatic effect comes in ordinary reasoning. Because so much of our social and political reasoning makes use of this system of metaphorical concepts, any adequate appreciation of even the most mundane social and political thought requires an understanding of this system. But unless one knows that the system exists, one may miss it altogether and be mystified by its effects.” (Lakoff 1995 p1)

Lackoff, G. 1995. ‘Metaphor, Morality, and Politics Or, Why Conservatives Have Left Liberals In the Dust‘ in Social Research, vol 62, no. 2 (summer 1995)

EMBODIED COGNITION

“Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that ‘there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.’ In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. However, as George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain:

Cognitive science calls this entire philosophical worldview into serious question on empirical grounds… [the mind] arises from the nature of our brains, bodies, and bodily experiences. This is not just the innocuous and obvious claim that we need a body to reason; rather, it is the striking claim that the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment… Thus, to understand reason we must understand the details of our visual system, our motor system, and the general mechanism of neural binding.

What exactly does this mean? It means that our cognition isn’t confined to our cortices. That is, our cognition is influenced, perhaps determined by, our experiences in the physical world.” (McNerney 2011)

McNerney, S. 2011. ‘A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

G.O.D.S

Glasgow Open Dance School provides a space where people can learn, teach and partake in movement related workshops for free. For G.O.D.S’ movement begins with the body, to de intellectualise by listening acutely to the body; the collective body and your (my) individual body. (YES)”

NANOPOLITICS

Nanopolitics was the name of a practice of the London-based nanopolitics group. “A practice of sensibilities, an experiment in living politics from, with and through the body – and vice versa. Since 2010, we have spent a few days a month together in different spaces, bringing our bodies and sensitivitres to what we experience as urgent political matters, as a mode of collective reflection and acction.” (the nanopolitics group, 2013,  p19) The prefix ‘nano’ is used in contrast to macro or mico politics, to refer to“infinitely small operations that bring us together as bodies in movement, struggle, love, work and so forth.” (ibid p24)

the nanopolitcs group. 2013. nanopolitics handbook

NON-REPRESENTATIONAL THEORY

“Non-representational theory has emerged since the mid-1990s in a series of papers and book chapters written by [Nigel] Thrift and has also evolved in the work of a range of his postgraduate students during that time….

[N]on-representational theory is not in fact an actual theory, but something more like a style of thinking which values practice. It is therefore also best thought in the plural as non-representational theories. In this plurality, theories of post-structuralists, phenomenologists, pragmatists, feminists, and a collection of social theorists, mix in varying concentrations.” (Simpson 2011)

“the non-representational project is concerned with describing ‘practices, mundane everyday practices that shape the conduct of human beings towards others and themselves in particular sites’. Rather than obsess over representation and meaning, Thrift contends that non-representational work is concerned with the performative ‘presentations’, ‘showings’ and ‘manifestations’ of everyday life.” (Patchett 2010)

Patchett, M. 2010. ‘A Rough Guide to Non-Representational Theory

Simpson, P. 2011. ‘What is non-representational theory?

SOCIAL CHOREOGRAPHY

Jaana Parvivaan draws attention to two different but related conceptions of the term ‘social choreography’ in her essay Choreographing Resistances (2010).

The first is the one presented by Andrew Hewitt in his 2005 book of the same name (where I think the term was coined), which looks at “how choreography has served not only as metaphor for modernity but also as a structuring blueprint for thinking about and shaping modern social organization.” Mark Franko picks up this thread in 2006, arguing that“dance is ideological (…) Ideologies are the persuasive kinesthetic and visual means by which individual identities are called or hailed to larger group formations.” 

The second – possibly more common – conception of social choreography – for example used by Steve Valk and Michael Klien (2008) but also see Catherine Wood’s essay The art of writing with people – refers to “an aesthetic practice that can actively intervene in the ways that people relate and interact” (Wood 2010) a kind of choreography of ‘real world’ events and relations (if such a distinction between real and performance worlds can be used).

Slightly confusingly Valk, Klien and Wood refer to Hewitt in their descriptions although this may be down to the as much to do with the overlapping of the concepts as any misunderstanding.

Franko, Mark. 2006. ‘Dance and Politics, States of Exception’ inDance Research Journal Vol. 38, No. 1/2 (Summer – Winter, 2006), pp. 3-18

Hewitt, Andrew. 2005. Social Choreography: Ideology as Performance in Dance and Everyday Movement

Klien, Michael; Valk, Steve and Gormly, Jeffrey. 2008. Book of Recommendations: Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change

Parviainen, Jaana. 2010. ‘Choreographing Resistances: Spatial-Kinaesthetic Intelligence and Bodily Knowledge as Political Tools in Activist Work’ in Mobilities Journal Vol. 5 No. 3, 1 September 2010

Wood, Catherine. 2010. ‘The art of writing with people‘ tate.org.uk

SOMAESTHETICS

Somaesthetics is an interdisciplinary project by philsopher Richard Shusterman “reviving the ancient idea of philosophy as an embodied way of life rather than a mere discursive field of abstract theory.” (Shusterman 2013). He describes three branches of somaesthetics: “analytic somaesthetics, which includes philosophy relating to the mind-body connection and the genealogical, sociological, and cultural analyses of somatic issues found in feminist and critical theory; pragmatic somaesthetics, which encompasses methodologies for improving our experience and use of our bodies (e.g. diets, grooming, decoration, dance, yoga, massage, aerobics, bodybuilding, calisthenics, martial and erotic arts, and disciplines like the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method); and practical somaesthetics: the concrete activity of somatic training.” (Sarbanes 2013)

Sarbanes, J. 2013. ‘Body Conscious: On Somaesthetics’ in Los Angeles Review of Books

Shusterman, R. 2013. Thinking Through the Body : Essays in Somaesthetics. Cambridge University Press

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