Connections Add photo. American Politics, Philosophy, Po The Lyrical Existentialists Explorers of humankind Bodies in revolt;: A primer in somatic thinking This book is a shout of joy that mankind has come to its Fellow American Council Learned Societies, Member Somatics Society founder, president. More photos. Add photo. View map. Born November 21, Waco, Texas, United States.
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Cart items. Toggle navigation. Search Results Results 1 -7 of 7. Freeperson Pr, Like New. Paperback with high gloss covers appears unused. Definition being the goal, here one step forward is taken. By pointing to the multiple entities informing it, as well as their emerging from corporeal experiences, the expression somatic knowledge partially inhibits the temptation of reducing a number of practical methods into a single theoretical model. Besides, it helps to understand them as originating from irreducible and seemingly individualistic experiences, differing in time and space, and stretching from the late 19 th century to our days.
Surely, Somatics' phenomenological plurality seems confirmed, thanks to a growing number of experiential accounts of the exploitation of somatic practices in the context of performing arts and education Fortin; Long; Lord, ; Fortin; Vieira; Tremblay, ; Weber, The main focus of such writings often consists in demonstrating the relevance Somatics disciplines have in preventing injuries and refining the performers' sensitive skills. Nevertheless, until recently, few of them have been trying to express the epistemological side of somatic approaches, and their configuration whenever applied in other contexts of care Bottiglieri, ; Bottiglieri; Ginot; Salvatierra, ; Ginot, , Overall, a critical analysis of what induces somatic discourses to presume the homogeneous functioning of these disciplines has just appeared 2.
An investigation of some theoretical somatic texts and of the studies on the development of Somatics as a movement, whose authors are also practitioners, may provide some clarifications. When evaluating Somatics as a comprehensive yet eclectic movement, the first step is to face contradictions, tensions, and epistemological incoherencies. To do so, I will pinpoint some of those aspects which have been so far considered as fundamentals, or rather strategic arguments, in the introduction of Somatics' theorizations within the written, scientific, and academic discourse.
Rather than seeking exhaustiveness, such a choice allows highlighting partialities and dogmatism, but also facts, names, and ethical convergences. All of these elements effectively endeavor the articulation of current identity politics, and the circulation of knowledge based on bodily practice.
In short, such an inquiry can offer an outline of the strategies adopted by somatic practices to face Euro-American economies of knowledge and market, since at least the outburst of the s counter culture, to which ideology Somatics seems to look back. As Isabelle Ginot observed, Somatics eventually lacks solid conceptual definitions of its own general features Ginot, , p.
Apparently, the source of the problem comes from within the somatic discourses produced by each practice, sometimes circulating in the somatic field even beyond their own communities of practitioners, disciples or patients 3. In order to explain and legitimate themselves, somatic practices are generally both based on and endeavoring tautological definitions and "thoughts of the universal" Ginot, , p.
Thus, their endogenous discourses engage ambivalent bonds with the rhetoric of science, their founders' research and personal involvement, the case studies, and the metaphors or examples they present Ginot, , p. This problem tangles when it encompasses published texts - namely, the somatic pioneers' writings - which generally claim to prove scientific validity for the practices they profile:. The function of science within somatics is to foster belief. Whereas somatic practice incessantly exposes difference in and the immaterial and elusive nature of sensing, scientific discourse inscribes vertiginous individual experience into a large sphere whose uniformity promotes generalization.
Somatics induces to believe in the 'scientific', universal, and 'provable' nature of experience, in order to provide a stable collective context for what is fundamentally an unstable, highly individualized experience Ginot, , p. Moreover, subtracted from a generating context, the somatic becomes a conceptual a priori , a category embracing the logic and economy of simplification, as much as it aims at conveying the ecology of practice into the discourse.
Especially evolutionistic theories are generally used to attain this scope Ginot, , p. This article approaches this epistemological issue through the study of some written somatic discourses. I will attempt to unveil a number of discursive strategies or techniques , to quote Ginot linked to the extraction of Somatics from its empirical context, as well as a number of specific issues related to the nature of each strategy. More specifically, in the following case studies I will stress the enduring use of these techniques in current outlines of the somatic field, on one hand, and the articulation and use of its main philosophical and epistemological components on the other.
To do so, I will refer to some recent historical-critical studies and, mainly, to a number of somatic writings hailing to its first theorization in the s. The opening case concerns Martha Eddy's 4 depiction of Somatics' cultural genesis, early development, and institutionalization.
By the perspective of somatic activism and ecology, I will recall Eddy's studies in the central section of the text, where a radical analysis of Thomas Hanna's early writings is attempted. I will focus on Hanna's linguistic shift in the expression of its theoretical foundations, that is, soma as living body and Somatics as the exclusive field approaching its study by a subjective viewpoint 5 Hanna, , Ginot's radical epistemology of endogenous somatic discourses provides the main methodological instruments for this analysis, allowing to focus on the imprints that both Eddy's and Hanna's activism leave on their text.
Ginot's proposal consists in the articulation of the inquiry by three axes: the analysis of the discourses' modes of efficacy, or the imaginary of the body subtended by the writings; the inquiry of their status as "alternative knowledge"; the individuation of normative shifts of this alternative model Ginot, , p. I will focus, though not exclusively, on the last two axes and stress the role of science, as well as the authority of the somatic pioneers, in the process of shaping Somatics as a unified field.
Moreover, the discursive contradictions will be considered as acceptable as "fleeting moments" of understanding Eddy, , p. In other terms, acknowledging the continuity between somatic practice and somatic written discourse, I consider Eddy's, and overall Hanna's texts as specific forms of founding writings.
I thus will evaluate them not only by their adequacy to the academic standards of validity, but also by their performing nature, and the hermeneutic consequences they produce addressing to the receiver - for as Ginot observes, their discursive techniques are deeply enrooted in the systems of beliefs informing both the context and the words of somatic practice:.
Somatic discourses, therefore, must be read as performative discourses, situated in a precise context and targeting thereby an equally precise efficacy. In this regard, somatic discourses do not stand apart from the practices that engender them. Somatic discourses constitute physical techniques, just as do the practices from which they emanate.
Far from implying that writing may ever be devoid of contingency, I intend to keep my subjective viewpoint as much explicit as possible in the articulation of the text - this being at least the most immediate ethical reaction to the complexity of the investigation itself. In the end, is the somatic field the object of this study, or is it the fictional process of the construction of its identity? My strategic posture will be stepping backward from dual dialectics and accepting "[ The choice of a short selection of sources will hopefully allow the articulation of more refined arguments, while providing an overlook dismissing any encyclopedic exhaustiveness.
The field of 'somatics' is barely a field. If necessarily seen as one [ Eddy, , p. In this section, I will introduce Martha Eddy's historical perspective on the early development of the somatic field. I will stress the relevance of some arguments Eddy provides in order to explain the multicultural dimension of Somatics, as well as its highly diversified identity. Subsequently, I will focus on Thomas Hanna's writings and highlight the presence of similar positions. The main unverified, if not untouched issue of both sources is the coexistence of highly individualistic experiences and their systemic bond through space and time, seemingly provoking the same struggles and ideals.
I intend to start by the short quote at the opening of this chapter, where Eddy explains her ambivalent viewpoint and formulates a question whose answer she eventually suspends. In the first place, the adverb Eddy adopts - "barely" - is quite interesting: it signals a tension between all these elements and arouses the curiosity for something more, laying latent in the discourse. Somatics appears to be a field, yet per se it functions as if it were not, relying on a number of isolated experiences.
Though resisting a spatio-temporal determination a posteriori because of her ecological perspective, Eddy seems to come to an answer - or a personal fundamental dimension of Somatics? Illnesses, physical limitations, [ The positive outcomes of these investigations gave credence to the process of finding answers to bodily needs and communicative desires through internal bodily awareness Eddy, , p. The implicit process at stake in this excerpt is not confirming the international - rather than multicultural - sources of early Somatics.
It consists in implicitly admitting the existence of an invisible, enduring resonance of values and intents between individuals who actually did not encounter, or otherwise did not confirm an actual, prolific collaboration. More precisely, the intensity of this bond seems not to be ascribed to pragmatic, collective research and practice, not even within each pioneer's small community of disciples or patients. Following this assumption, seemingly invisible, ecological agents would induce the attunement of subjective sensitiveness, individual attitudes, and other still unveiled factors.
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In the next paragraphs, it will become clearer that such a thesis was at the core of early Somatics, at least during the first decade of its existence, from conception to foundation. Yet, Eddy's quote may suggest an opposite hypothesis: Somatics is not a field by itself, but it eventually functions as it were. If this were the case, a precise intention, namely the desire of realizing a pre-defined project would produce a fictional but effective convergence within those isolated experiences, subjective sensitiveness, and individual attitudes.
Nevertheless, both these contradictions eventually seem worth of attention, as long as they are understood as starting points towards the resolution of specific issues, be it theoretical legitimation, technical standards, juridical status or ethical, controversies.
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In fact, just as much as subjective experience, scientific background, ethical and philosophical concerns, professional issues and resolutions are operating and coexisting processes, shaping the configuration of somatic disciplines thanks to individual as well as collective engagement. All of them configure forms of activism the founding practitioners had also to assume and confront with since the very beginning. Activism and issues, in turn, have been changing in time - by this perspective, Eddy's inquiry will be soon a valuable reference. Somatics' novelty and divergence from legitimate protocols required responding with solid plans, inventiveness, and a constant negotiation with the competitive economies of market and knowledge.
All of these materialistic aspects, which are actually part of the practitioner's professionalism, are usually omitted in the pioneers' writings. Yet, in our case, they implicitly re-emerge as discursive techniques through Eddy's concern of Somatics' normative shifts, and the prominent avoidance of cultural delimitation of the somatic dimension in Hanna's use of the notion of soma in his early writings on Somatics.
Hanna's discursive strategies of that period approximately from the late s to the second half of the s triggered several aesthetical and ethical issues, which will be retraced in the contemporary institutional expression of Somatic Movement, Therapy, and Education referring to Eddy's research. Nevertheless, Hanna's ought to be depicted as one strategy among others. He indeed shaped a form of practice and an ideology on pre-existing cultural phenomena that eventually became dominant; yet, his own engagement in the foundation of the somatic field, though much better chronicled, was probably influenced by a variety of sources and proposals, coming from others activists and practitioners.
Hanna supposedly recollected and resumed them, but, following the posture he adopts in his articles, he probably also spoke in their behalf and molded, or inhibited other possible expressions and potentials 7. Therefore, rather than sketching the development of somatic as a whole, I will outline how Hanna happened to be particularly effective and influent in creating his perspective, as well as the fiction of Somatics as a uniform entity.
In his most important volume Bodies in Revolt , Thomas Hanna cleverly defined Somatics first and foremost as an epistemological shift, a mode of thinking produced by a transformation of one's quality of awareness Hanna, , rather than a group of pre-existing methods to merely assemble and institutionalize.
Such a move appears to be far from casualty. In fact, it is even conceivable that a somatic movement had never existed in itself before Hanna introduced this notion in the late s. Moreover, he would explicitly refer to a number of practitioners as somatic pioneers far after the development of their method, and even the death of most of them Hanna, , p.
In contrast, as I will shortly explain, a variety of movements and technical approaches would actually be part, or external complements, of the upcoming institution of Somatics 8. In the s Hanna coined the term 'somatics' to describe and unify these processes under one rubric. Philosophers and scholars in the late twentieth century helped to forge the new field of Somatic Education. On one hand, practitioners and thinkers would look for models, references, and authorities around which recognizable features and conscious theoretical discourses could be articulated.
Traditions, paradigms, and identities would be re traced, re configured as long as it was felt necessary. On the other, inherent dialectics and critical approaches would grow in the following decades, especially influenced by feminist theories Eddy, , ; Haraway, , ; Stengers, Such processes triggered most evidently the social and political side of the somatic practices and their ethics, producing further transformations and differentiations of the field.
Again, though functioning as an organized entity, trying to define ethical and technical standards, the association is far from being exhaustive of the somatic phenomena, as well as from being unitary. Since the early s, Eddy has been refining her inquiry, by the realization that "Now lineages are more complicated" Eddy, , p. In , I identified that there are three branches of the somatic world - somatic psychology, somatic bodywork, and somatic movement Eddy, According to Eddy, "[ What should then be the definition of soma and Somatics today or, more correctly, which are the possible definitions I should take into consideration?
In fact, to provide a useful, enriching outline of the phenomenon, such a research has to deal first and foremost with the deterministic obsession itself. Models, necessities, and intentions operate, in the somatic field as elsewhere, as culturally determined, biased epistemological strategies. This is seemingly how inter subjective inquiries were eventually able to produce and develop methods and functional aesthetics, each one responding to a specific socio-cultural frame.
The key to access to a complex system and understand its functioning can be found in the details. Acknowledging the fact that the terms soma and somatic themselves had never been introduced in the pioneers' writings, nor had they acquired their current specific meaning before Hanna's definition, some preliminary considerations ought to be expressed. First of all, strong authority - a strong individual self assertion and imprint - seems to be at the source of the somatic field as we know it.
It is now clear that, in Hanna's viewpoint, the existence of legitimating authorities is of vital importance for the self-determination of the field. If so, how does his attitude as practitioner and author influence somatic discourses? At least in the early phase of Somatics' institution, Hanna's theoretical writings aim at functioning as a center of gravity for an extreme variety of practices, practitioners, and researches. All these begin to orbit around in a more or less spontaneous way, in order to be given voice and legitimation, as well as to participate to a seemingly collective project.
This aspect brings to our discourse a first order of ethical implications, and practical complications that will be soon considered:. It is undeniable that Hanna intended to respond to such a need for organization by creating common aesthetics, ethics, and legitimate form of alliance. This was in fact his form of activism and the primary scope of his early theoretical writings.
On the other hand, in so doing, Hanna endeavored and catalyzed the enactment of essentialist postures, persisting to our days 9. These issues may be briefly resumed, at this early stage, as the paradoxical coexistence of intentions I highlighted so far. Whereas the older and most traditional sources of the somatic field show a greater interest in re defining both bodily essence and a system of norms and values as universal 10 , more recent studies of the field - especially in Somatic Movement Education - understand them, or their application, as instances of normalization and ethnocentrism Eddy, ; Ginot, ; therefore, somatic activism privileges their disempowering via the reconfiguration of the practices.
It is of great importance to note that, in this case, equal action is often addressed to mainstream as well as somatic practices themselves:. It is my belief that somatic practice, characterized by a first-person experience within a cultural context, can encourage a move toward a more politicized stance that enables a critique of existing dance, arts, and educational institutions, as well as the agency and empowerment of individuals. In current practice, in my observation, some somatic disciplines are taught in a style that could be characterized as authoritarian.
Indeed, many holistic, indigenous practices exist or co-exist within hostile authoritarian cultures. It is imperative that we begin to question whether these practices actually bring wholeness to the individual or to the group, given the structures within which they are taught Eddy, , p. This relevant and yet inevitably generalized overlook finally expresses the main struggles that somatic activism encounters by relying on the ground of still undertheorized and unquestioned discursive methodologies Ginot, , p. Facing the history of the somatic field thus consists first and foremost in a problematic encounter with its plurality, and an even more difficult choice - or reinvention - of narrative techniques.
The issue at stake is political. Both of these dynamics endeavor desires, dogmas, and biases that have been concealed in the institutionalization of the disciplines. All of these elements mutually interfere and reshape one another, as days and researches go by. I liken it to a field of wildflowers with unique species randomly popping up across wide expanses Eddy, , p. The methodological choices I have just profiled imply the effort to read between the lines of the official cartographies, enlightening the logics as well as the partialities informing this peculiar field.
For the same reason, this paragraph begins with Martha Eddy's definition of Somatics, which I deliberately omitted in the quote at the opening of this essay Eddy's image is more than an effective and gracious example. It conceals some interesting references to notions such as nature, inter-independence, ecology , and globalization , profiling a configuration far from being neutral.
The image of the wildflowers "randomly popping" through a vast environment seems to recall an interpretation we have already encountered - cultural development as the spontaneous, or so-called natural result of individual choices, moved by the invisible intentions of an ecological, yet transcendent entity. Additionally, daring to draw this perspective further, the use of the metaphor in the construction of the discourse appears very meaningful in itself. It is reliable to a rich field of cognitive and neuroscientific inquiries on learning and language, which became more and more relevant from the early 's and evidently influenced somatic researches, from Hanna's to Eddy's.
In works as George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's Lakoff, ; Lakoff; Johnson, , as well as, later on, Francisco Varela and his collaborators' Varela; Thompson; Rosch, , the notion of metaphor is conceived as the paradigm of cognitive experience, as an embodiment process, or embodied action All of these authors generally define embodiment as the immediate appropriation of a perceptive experience through physiological processes, and its translation into more and more articulated units of abstract thought.
Significantly, in the same period Hanna's research was devoted to the development of a legitimated - and legitimating - scientific literature, in order to give birth to the institution of somatology , the holistic physiology of somatic processes Hanna, , p. All of these authors, and especially Hanna, found a common philosophical background in the American Pragmatists, as well as in the Continental Existentialism and Phenomenology Hanna, a , p. All these references lie quite implicit in Eddy's image.
Yet, according to Eddy, they constitute a strong background in the second and third generation of somatic practitioners and activists Eddy, , , , producing a cultural and ideological way both of seeing things and seeing through things. Such a way to look at, and respond to an already disperse heritage informs the complexity of this field, its ideological contradictions, and ambivalent relationship to scientific authority.
In fact, whether consciously or not, the ideological posture of the practitioner and the activist shapes the bodies of their communities: intentions become attitudes, invisible agents which reconfigure scopes, means and results, even in stable technical frames. In these terms, it is possible to look at Somatics as an ecological approach:. This century's use of the term 'somatic' as a model of holism derived from bodily wisdom , was intended by early thinkers [ Hanna [ One such assumption regards 'somatic ecology' in which the soma demonstrates interdependence with the environment, 'social as well as physical' Eddy, , p.
Yet, this evidence does not simplify the study of the field. In these lines, Eddy recalls once more Hanna's article The Field of Somatics , which appeared in the first edition of the Somatics journal in Whereas, in a restricted sense, it seems correct enough to read Hanna's posture as ecologic, it ought to be noted that the notion of ecology he endeavored appears to acquire a quite different meaning from Eddy's gendered and poststructuralist perspective.
In fact, they diverge inasmuch as, for Hanna, ecology would justify the naturalization of sociocultural progress and the universalization of the somatic dimension. Hanna's living body would be more and more abstracted from a situated milieu, as long as the scientific attitude and rhetoric was adopted in his somatic literature. Only the diagnostic examples he reported in his late works seem to rely to real individuals, yet most of them are briefly depicted through their therapeutic relation with Hanna and they interact with the practitioner in a seemingly abstract context Hanna, In short, multiculturalism and global influences Eddy, would be misunderstood or neglected in order to support a scientific reductionist point of view.
Up to the early s and beyond, such a posture would support the authoritarian methods Eddy reports as an activist. Interestingly, she also explains how the disempowerment of this reductionism would begin with the second generation of somatic leaders, "[