Disorientation and emergent subjectivity: The political potentiality of embodied encounter

Natalie Julia Garrett Brown

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    Located in philosophical enquiry, this article considers ways to theorize and articulate the political significance of embodied encounter with the environment. Underlying this discussion is an interrogation of the relationship between presence, embodiment and intersubjectivity, with specific reference to Fisher-Lichte’s proposition of ‘the radical concept of presence’. In doing so, an affinity is proposed between Deleuzian inflected corporeal feminism principally through the work of Rosi Braidotti and Elizabeth Grosz, and somatic-informed movement practice in the environment. It is suggested that both offer a critique of the ‘mind/body’ dualism implicit within humanist understandings of subjectivity. Accordingly, each can be argued to recast subjectivity as an always embodied activity, an inter-corporeal exchange between ‘self’, recast as shifting and multiple, and ‘otherness’. In arguing this point, the article proposes an alternative model of the audience – performer relationship theorized around notions of witness and transformation. Noting the political dimensions of this for issues of difference in performance, the article seeks to elucidate the extent to which existing approaches to performance studies, or that which Melrose terms ‘expert writerly registers’, themselves rooted in a disembodied spectatorship, arguably lack the apparatus to accommodate such understandings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-73
    JournalJournal of Dance & Somatic Practices
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


    • embodiment
    • inter-subjectivity
    • Body-Mind Centering®
    • Deleuze
    • feminism
    • environment
    • performance


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