Body Commons: Toward an Interdisciplinary Study of the Somatic Spectacular

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Kohe, Geoff ; Newman, Joshua (2011)
  • Publisher: Australian Dance Council
  • Subject: HM | NX

Recently, many Western societies have indulgently produced and consumed a new theatre of corporeality. In this paper, we explore the explosion of corporeal (kinesthetic) forms as evidenced in mass-media discourse—as evoked by ‘reality’ television shows like Dancing with the stars and So you think you can dance?, and in contemporary agent provocateurs such as the spectacle and spectacular(ised) Lady Gaga. Drawing on Turner’s (1992) notion of the ‘somatic society’, Shilling’s (2006) theorizing on the body sociological, and McLaren’s (1995) Freire-inspired examinations of critical pedagogy, we argue that these forms share, we suggest, commonalities with the spectacularised and politicised physcailties of sporting bodies oft-polemicised by body sociologists, feminist critics, and cultural studies scholars (to name but a few). Each is thrust into public sphere is heretofore unimaginably spectacular ways; each is judged, subjected, and disciplined along performative norms; each is transformed into somatic currency for capital accumulation. Thusly, we offer a new lens toward a radically-contextually, anti-disciplinary, corporeally-engaged, critical (public) body pedagogic.
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