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Bodies, Selves, and the Social World

Bodies, Selves, and the Social World

Chapter:
(p.149) 7 Bodies, Selves, and the Social World
Source:
Inward
Author(s):
Michal Pagis
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226639413.003.0007

This chapter offers an interactionist and phenomenology-based analytical frame for the place of embodied self-awareness in everyday social life. The chapter models the relation between body, self, and social world that takes place in vipassana practice. It then extends the suggested frame and analyzes a variety of practices - including, among others, embodied therapies, jogging, dieting, playing musical scales, self-cutting, fasting, praying, sex, smoking, and even the most mundane coffee breaks and bathing rituals – in which individuals turn their focused attention to the background embodiment of the self. The chapter illustrates how the social world supplies institutionalized practices that serve as a pause from the social game of active and engaged interaction. The social world includes communities, routines, and rituals, some of which are considered religious, some secular, through which practitioners turn inward without stepping out of society, experience solitude without being isolated, and thus negotiate the tensions that arise from the dual nature of human beings. Through these practices people find ways to be both social and corporeal, ways to relax anxieties regarding what others see or think, an embodied transcendence that enables a smooth transition between social relations.

Keywords:   embodiment, transcendence, body, solitude, social relations, practices, phenomenology, interaction, religious, corporeal

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