This book presents a series of ontological investigations into an adequate theory of embodiment for the social sciences. Informed by a new realist philosophy of causal powers, it seeks to articulate a concept of dynamic embodiment, one that positions human body movement, and not just ‘the body’ at the heart of theories of social action. It draws together several lines of thinking in contemporary social science: about the human body and its movements; adequate meta-theoretical explanations of agency and causality in human action; relations between moving and talking; skill and the formation of knowledge; metaphor, perception and the senses; movement literacy; the constitution of space and place, and narrative performance. This is an ontological inquiry that is richly grounded in, and supported by anthropological ethnographic evidence.
Using the work of Rom Harré, Roy Bhaskar, Charles Varela and Drid Williams this book applies causal powers theory to a revised ontology of personhood, and discusses why the adequate location of human agency is crucial for the social sciences. The breakthrough lies in fact that new realism affords us an account of embodied human agency as a generative causal power that is grounded in our corporeal materiality, thereby connecting natural/physical and cultural worlds.
Dynamic Embodiment for Social Theory is compelling reading for students and academics of the social sciences, especially anthropologists and sociologists of ‘the body’, and those interested in new developments in critical realism.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Primacy of Movement
Chapter 2 The Body in Social Theory
Chapter 3 A New Ontology of Personhood
Chapter 4 Movement Literacy
Chapter 5 Bourdieu’s Habitus – A Sociological Mislocation of Agency
Chapter 6 Lakoff’s and Johnson’s Metaphors – A Psychological Mislocation of Agency
Chapter 7 Verbal and Nonverbal – A Linguistic Mislocation of Agency
Chapter 8 The Ab(sense) of Kinesthesia in Western Thought
Chapter 9 Implications of Dynamic Embodiment for Social Theory
Brenda Farnell is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois.