Sub-theme 16: Embodied Practices and Sensitive Spaces


Natasha Slutskaya, Brunel Business School, United Kingdom
Michele Lancione, Cambridge University, United Kingdom
Ruth Simpson, Brunel Business School, United Kingdom

Call for Papers

In his reformulation of bodies and their capacities, Bruno Latour encourages us to shift our focus from what a body is to what a body can do (Anderson and Harrison 2010; Blackman et al, 2010). This shift consents to bodies being understood as ‘always entangled processes’ (Blackman et al, 2010, p.9) and, more importantly, being defined by their capacities to affect and to be affected (Ahmed, 2004). These capacities reveal themselves in embodied practices (Wegenstein, 2006). The term (an embodied practice) suggests that we live and experience the world through our bodies, especially through perception, emotion, and movement in space and time (Tiwari, 2010). In this track we seek to interrogate how embodied practices can be produced and reproduced through complex processes of social and spatial differentiation (Schiller et al, 2009) and through enacting social norms (Ahmed, 2004) and how they are endowed with a meaning and value as a result of the underexplored relationship of sociality and materiality. Embodied practices are not neutral; gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class are social-political aspects that shape and confirm them (Allegranti, 2011).

Social space is also a sensitive space as it presents different life chances and opportunities for inclusion or exclusion for different social groups (Schiller et al, 2009). We seek to draw attention to how vulnerabilities and sensitivities of disadvantaged and stigmatised groups get misconstrued and misjudged. We are particularly interested in embodied practices that might evoke or result in ugly and dark feelings (Ngai 2005; Robinson 2011). In this track we are interested in the experiences and the spaces where these processes take place( for example, spaces of care for the poor (Allahyari 2000); informal spaces and economies (Simone 2010); street living (Desjarlais 1997)) and the role of organisations such as public services, charities, faith-based organisations in the constitution of these spaces and in fashioning of the experiences (Lancione 2013). We also invite submissions that investigate different methodological tools for studying embodied practices. A list of possible themes includes:

  • Investigating informal spaces, affective atmospheres, and embodied practices
  • Sociality in question; overstepping the codes or legitimation of transgression.
  • Ugly feelings: fear of strangers, envy, anxiety, anger
  • The emotional dimensions of movement and belonging; of location and dislocation. ‘How social space is implicated in feelings of belonging; how dislocation is experienced and managed’
  • The contextual and non-evident consequences of the provision of “care” for the “poor” and “different” other
  • Embodied practices as a way of resisting and altering the meaning and the power relations of normative policies of care

Submissions should be made to Natasha Slutskaya and Michele Lancione

Ahmed, S. 2004. The Cultural Politics of Emotions. Edinburgh University Press

Allahyari, R. 2000. Visions of Charity: Volunteer Workers and Moral Community. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Allegranti, B. 2011 “Ethics and Body Politics: Interdisciplinary Possibilities for Embodied Psychotherapeutic Practice and Research.” British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 39(5): 487-500.

Anderson, B., and P. Harrison, ed. 2010. Taking-Place: Non Representational Theories and Geography. Farnham: Ashgate.

Blackman, L and Venn, C. 2010. “Affect.”Body and Society16(7):7-28.

Desjarlais, R. 1997. Shelter Blues: Sanity and Selfhood Among the Homeless. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Lancione, M. 2013. “Homeless People and the City of Abstract Machines. Assemblage Thinking and the Performative Approach to Homelessness.” Area 45 (3): 358–364.

Ngai,S. 2007. Ugly Feelings. Harvard University Press.

Robinson, C. 2011. Beside One’s Self. Homelessness Felt and Lived. New York: Syracuse University Press.

Schiller N. and Çağlar, A. 2009. “Towards a Comparative Theory of Locality in Migration Studies: Migrant Incorporation and City Scale.”

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35( 2): 177-202.

Tiwari, R. 2010. Space Body Ritual. Performativity in the City Library. Lanham: Lexington books.

Wegestein, B. 2006. Getting Under the Skin: The Body and Media Theory. Cambridge. MA and London: MIT Press

Michele Lancione is Post Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Geography, Cambridge University. He previously worked at CMOS (Centre for Management & Organization Studies), UTS, Sydney, and at DIST, University and Polytechnic of Turin. He obtained his PhD in Human Geography from Durham University, and he collaborates as Book Reviews Editor for the Journal City. His interests include urban space, issues of marginality and diversity, and continental philosophy (

Ruth Simpson is Professor of Management at Brunel Business School. She has a background in Economics and Organization Studies. She has published widely in the area of Management Education and Gender and Organizations, including the Academy of Management (Learning and Education) Journal, Human Relations and Work Employment and Society. She is also an author of two books Revealing and Concealing Gende” (with Lewis, P.) and Men in Caring Occupations: Doing Gender Differently

Natasha Slutskaya is a lecturer in Organization Studies at Brunel Business School. Her research interests include dirty work, issues of marginality and diversity and embodiment. She has published in the area of marginality and diversity including Organization and Work Employment and Society journals. She is also an Associate Editor of GWO.

Posted On: June 8, 2014
Posted In:
Comments: No Responses