Embodiment Activism on the Web, on the Street, and in Print

There’s a lot happening with embodiment activism. This is a new website focusing on embodiment activism and is just getting going. The original impetus for this site was to post the text of a recent presentation I made on embodiment activism. My current goal is to curate on this page a collection of links to embodiment activism resources on the web. Suggestions are welcome and can be made at the bottom of this page.

Right now I am identifying embodiment theorists and practitioners with an emphasis on those with resources available online. Apologies for the possibly fragmentary nature of this page while it is under construction. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Darryl Aiken-Afam

Darryl’s Contact & Conversation project in New York is facing racism and gentrification with conversation.

Susan Aposhyan

Susan is an embodiment theorist and practitioner. While she may not see herself as an embodiment activist in the context of social activism, her conceptualization of how to understand and work with our bodymind is important for embodiment activists. Susan and wrote Natural Intelligence: Body-Mind Integration and Human Development and Body-Mind Psychotherapy: Principles, Techniques, and Practical Applications.

Begonya Enguix

Begonya is a body-centered social anthropologist at the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona. Begonya’s presentation Talking bodies in public: Embodied activism and strategies for protest considers how “[t]he terrain of gender and sex dissidence is a fertile context for the analysis of the vehiculation of meaning and claim through bodies, as gender and sex experiences are profoundly embodied.”

Abbi Jaffe

Abbi Jaffe and Amanda Franz created The Everything Space in Montpelier, Vermont. Abbi seems to have birthed the term embodiment activism. The Everything Space is a nexus of embodiment-related activity, combining body work, contact improv jams, and workshops and classes.

Rae Johnson

Rae’s practice website has an embodied activism page that provides an excellent and focused guide to working on your own embodiment from the direction of your own oppression. Rae also has a page on Academia.edu full of interesting papers available for free download and a new book out in 2017, Embodied Social Justice. Serge Prengel at RelationalImplicit interviews Rae.

Lisa Mortimore

Lisa’s focus is “relationally oriented somatic attachment therapy” and lives in James Bay, Victoria, BC. Lisa’s doctoral dissertation, Embodied Ways of Knowing: Women’s Eco-Activism, is available online.

Marina Sitrin

Marina self-describes as a “writer, lawyer, teacher, organizer, militant and dreamer” and has emerged as a chronicler, voice, oral historian, and theoretician of the urban movements arising in response to neoliberal crises across the world from Argentina to Greece. Marina’s books, including They Can’t Represent Us! Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy, with Dario Azzellini, explores horizonalist organizing as a practice of direct democracy. (Online, see Horizontalism and Territory, and Horizontalism: From Argentina to Wall Street.) In these works, Marina vividly illuminates a global stage on which the overwhelming forces of economic crisis

The Work That Reconnects

This activist network reports having grown out of the empowerment of sharing feelings of anguish and despair in the antinuclear weapons and power movements. The Work That Reconnects core assumptions describe an explicit vision of embodiment activism based on six propositions, summarized here as: (1) aliveness of the earth, (2) our true nature extending far beyond our disembodied selves, (3) natural and social destruction causing denied pain, (4) unblocking of this pain when experienced and expressed, (5) embodiment ad reconnection with nature restoring mental clarity, and (6) embodiment arousing social activism.

Links to be further evaluated

The ‘accidental activist’: learning, embodiment and action, by Tracey Ollis, Australian Journal of Adult Learning Volume 48, Number 2, July 2008.

What it Means to be a Trauma Culture Activist, Bill St. Cyr at ComingIntoConsciousness.com.

Embodiment as Self-Care in Activist Movements, Katelyn Espenshade at CommunityPsychology.com

THE EMBODIED ACTIVIST: Where Permaculture Meets the Arts,  Nala Walla of the BCOLLECTIVE.

Talking bodies in public: Embodied activism and strategies for protest, Begonya Enguix.

Oddpuppy‘s Embodied Activism Workshop: “What I call my practice of embodied activism brings together a somatic understanding of the body with the wider context of how we move in society, how we perceive ourselves and are perceived, how we experience privilege, ability, identity, association and discrimination.”

Performing politics: Image, embodiment, and affective solidarity during anti-corporate globalization protests, Jeffrey S. Juris, published in Ethnography 9(1), 2008. Article abstract: This article brings together the anthropological, sociological, and related literature on media, emotion, and performance to explore the role of counter-summit protests within anti-corporate globalization movements. Counter-summit actions produce both external and internal effects, allowing activists to communicate political messages, while generating deeply felt emotions and political identities. However, activists eventually tire while public interest may wane as protests become routine. Moreover, the most unpredictable, free form actions which produce high levels of affective solidarity among core activists often elicit media frames that stigmatize or trivialize protesters. Through comparative ethnographic accounts of mass mobilizations in Prague and Barcelona and subsequent media analysis, I argue that counter-summit protests are important networking tools, but they are difficult to reproduce over time, while the emotional and media impacts of counter-summit actions are often contradictory. I further suggest that grasping the affective dimensions of protest requires an engaged and embodied ethnographic praxis.

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