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Towards a Phenomenological Account of the Dancing Body: Merleau-Ponty and the Corporeal Schema
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4883-8262
2013 (English)In: Material of Movement and Thought: Reflections on the Dancer's Practice and Corporeality / [ed] Anna Petronella Foultier, Cecilia Roos, Stockholm: Dans och Cirkushögskolan , 2013Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The essay discusses the dancing body from a phenomenological perspective, against the background of the philosophical conception of the lived body in tradition. In the very young discipline of dance theory, there is a shortage of philosophical concepts and analyses that I believe phenomenology can partly remedy. Although Merleau-Ponty has not written on dance other than in passing, I argue that his thoughts on the body-proper are useful in order to elucidate bodily expression in general and the significations that the dancer’s body manifests in performing a choreographic work in particular. The dynamic notion of the corporeal schema that he appeals to can make us understand how significations are inscribed in the body, and thus how something such as an expression or a choreographic language can exist in dance. Further, the specific forms of spatiality that Merleau-Ponty considers are opened up by artworks, within and beyond the concrete space of the physical body, gives us a clue to the elaboration of a phenomenology of dance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Dans och Cirkushögskolan , 2013.
Keyword [en]
Merleau-Ponty, phenomenology of dance, expression, living body, corporeal schema
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113192ISBN: 9789187066424 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-113192DiVA: diva2:783450
Projects
From movement out of reflection in becoming: The dancer and the creative process
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-01-26 Created: 2015-01-26 Last updated: 2015-01-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Recasting Objective Thought: The Venture of Expression in Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recasting Objective Thought: The Venture of Expression in Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about meaning, expression and language in Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy, and their role in the phenomenological project as a whole. For Merleau-Ponty, expression is the taking up of a meaning given either in perception or in already acquired forms of expression, thereby repeating, transforming or congealing meaning into gestures, utterances, artworks, ideas or theories. Contrary to the predominant view in the literature, the relation of expression to meaning, and in particular the problem of expressing new meanings, was of fundamental importance to Merleau-Ponty from the very beginning, in that it was intrinsically related to the overcoming of what he termed “objective thought”. Admittedly, there is an evolution of his philosophy in this respect: from the early stance where the recasting of certain basic categories is taken as pivotal for the development of a new form of thinking, with arguments drawn also from various empirical and social sciences, to what appears to be an effort at an all-pervading reformulation of philosophical language during his last years. But the remoulding of categories was never for Merleau-Ponty a matter simply of finding a few, better adapted concepts, but from the outset an endeavour to think philosophical arguments through to a point where they reveal their inherent inconsistencies. Recasting philosophical expression is thus a risky enterprise, and this is a point I explore further in Essay 1, that focuses especially upon creative expression in painting and to some extent in literature. In Essay 2 I discuss the notion of Gestalt and how it serves this general project, whereas Essay 3 deals with verbal language, on the basis of Merleau-Ponty’s reading of Saussure’s linguistics. Essay 4 examines bodily expression from the point of view of feminist phenomenology and in particular Judith Butler’s early reading of Merleau-Ponty, and finally Essay 5 discusses expression in the art of dance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University, 2015. 211 p.
Keyword
Merleau-Ponty, Saussure, Butler, phenomenology, expression, language, perception, painting, Gestalt theory, linguistics, feminist phenomenology, dance
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113278 (URN)978-91-7649-095-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-02-28, D7, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Accepted. Paper 5: Accepted.

Available from: 2015-02-05 Created: 2015-01-27 Last updated: 2016-04-22Bibliographically approved

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