Current questions and directions

The research in the Body/Embodiment group covers a great range of questions and issues.  The group is held together by a commitment in a relational understanding of bodies, which stresses the impossibility to understand bodies in isolation and instead underline their dependency and interrelationality. Bodies are not simply individual objects but also continuously produce and reproduce themselves in relation to their surrounding milieu, fields of meaning and other bodies.

One theme is the socially and culturally inscribed meanings to bodies and embodiments. Several projects researches the powerful constructions of bodies as normal or deviant, male or female, functional or non-functional, same or other, which also mark some bodies as more frightening than others, and other bodies as more open and available to others. 

A very closely linked thematic is how processes of othering and marginalization become an intrinsic part of the reproduction of unequal powers in social structures, institutions and practices. In this radical project, we place body questions at the forefront as a mean of a deeper understanding of societal orders and norms. 

Another common interest is the ways narratives and historicity of different bodies preposition individual subjects. The group has a theoretical interest for how lived bodies and subjectivities are affected by specific narratives on gendered, sexualized, racialized, functional and ageing bodies.  We are born free, and yet, trapped in material and discursive narratives of different bodies’ possible and impossible participation in varying spaces and activities.

Moreover the aim is to develop understandings of the materiality of biological bodies – their shapes and spatiality, visuality and biologicity, material flexibility and plasticity – can be incorporated into the understanding of bodies, without restricting this understanding to these aspects or making deterministic biological claims.