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Department of Geography, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand
Abstract: Geographers are beginning to show interest in corporeality. The body is becoming evident in numerous geographical studies. It is timely, therefore, momentarily to `step back' and address the question `what is a body?' This article begins with an examination of some recent approaches to understanding embodiment ± for example, phenomenological, psychoanalytic and `inscriptive' approaches. Secondly, it reviews the work of geographers who claim that a Cartesian separation between mind and body underpins geographical discourse. Also discussed in this section are some of the `costs' of this dualism underpinning geographical discourse. Finally, readers are alerted to a range of recent geographical literature in which the body is made explicit. This literature has the potential to prompt new understandings of power, knowledge and social relationships between people and places.
In a progress report on `Geography and gender', Rose (1995: 545) focuses on `a growing concern with the bodily' in geography. Rose (1995: 545) claims that `an interest in the corporeal is becoming evident in a range of studies'. The aim of this article is to build on Rose's short report in three ways. First, I examine in detail this thing called `the body'. Secondly, I review the work of geographers who argue that a Cartesian separation between mind and body underpins geography. Discussed briefly in this section are some of the `costs' of this dualism underpinning geography. Finally, I outline the work of geographers who are seeking to make explicit the complex relationship between `embodiment and spatiality' (Rose, 1995: 546). This emerging literature is to be welcomed as it has the potential to prompt new understandings of power, knowledge and social relationships between people and places.
What is this thing called `the body'?
It is vital to understand bodily experience in order to understand people's relationships with physical and social environments. Yet the word `body' and the thing of `the body' itself tend to be treated as obvious and requiring no explanation. Pile and Thrift (1995: 2) illustrate this point by citing the line from an old song: `If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?' which `plays on the ambiguity of the phrase ``hold against'', while the ``it'' of a ``beautiful body'' is cheerfully assumed'.
c Arnold 1997 *
material. and ultimately. cohesiveness. . 1995: 6). animate organization of flesh. how do we think this `corporeal place'? Grosz (1992: 243. We use other bodies as points of reference in relating to other material things.Robyn Longhurst 487 Other examples of ways in which the body tends to be taken for granted can be found by examining advertising slogans frequently used to sell diet and health products. claims: By body I understand a concrete. Grosz's definition at least provides some explanation of this thing we call the body. In this slogan it is unproblematically assumed that prior to slimming the body in question is out of shape or perhaps has no shape. Kirby (1992: 1) probes this puzzling matter commonly called the body and claims that it is `a terra incognita'. a body which thereby defines the limits of experience and subjectivity. Harre cited in Pile and Thrift. Clearly it is impossible. We use the condition of our bodies for legitimating a withdrawal from the demands of everyday life. Grosz's definition allows us some sense of what bodies might be but the `matter' `at hand' remains problematic (Longhurst.1 yet the seemingly simple question `what is the body?' has not tended to be examined thoroughly. Recently I heard the slogan `Get your body in shape' broadcast on a commercial radio station. This quotation illustrates that the term body cannot be easily contained with a neat dictionary definition or a commonplace understanding of what it means. and skeletal structure which are given a unity. Those theorists who do attempt to address the question often remain puzzled. and organization only through their psychical and social inscription as the surface and raw materials of an integrated and cohesive totality . emphasis in original). Nevertheless. We use our bodies for reproducing the human species. We use our bodies for artwork. a body whose epidermic surface bounds a psychical unity. to attempt to offer any kind of absolute or exact definition of the term. There has been much recent debate on the body. and not necessarily very useful. We use our bodies for the expression of moral judgements. It encompasses a `bewildering variety' of meanings: it is `equivocal. a body which coincides with the `shape' and space of a psyche. Becoming a member of the Sports Spectrum will enable consumers to become `some body' rather than remaining a `no body'. and memberships to fitness centres and weight-loss programmes. . The body becomes a human body. organs. the Other or Symbolic order (language and rulegoverned social order). We use our bodies for practical action. muscles. Perhaps it is not surprising that the word `body' tends to be taken for granted given Â (1991: 257. 1995: 97±98). The question about how anyone can have `no body' in the first instance is not posed. duties and strategies. We use our bodies for the assignment of all sorts of roles. 1992: 1) admits that at the end of writing his book The body and society (1984) he was even more confounded by the ` ``crassly obvious`` question ``What is the body?'' ' than when he began. cited in Kirby. as surfaces for new material for sculpture. Turner (1984: 7. the advertisers (a `Sports Spectrum') play on the ambiguity of becoming `some body' in terms of both corporeality and subjectivity. nerves. in psychoanalytic terms through the intervention of the (m)other. that there is such a vast number of ways in which we use our bodies. In another slogan ± `Become some body' ± aired on national television. who for a number of years has researched embodiment. . tasks. She asks. 1995: 6) explains: we use our bodies for grounding personal identity in ourselves and recognising it in others. But what does it actually mean for a body not to be in shape? Obviously the desirability of a specific body shape is taken for granted by the advertisers. often ambiguous. sometimes evasive and always contested' by those who attempt to understand more fully its meaning (Pile and Thrift. The message that the advertisers want consumers to read from this slogan is that working out at the Sports Spectrum will enable them to craft their corporeal selves in such a way as to command respect ± self-respect and the respect of others.
1985. Another approach to the body can be found in psychoanalytic theory. lived body is one of the dominant views of the body in contemporary social theory. 1996). have also commonly adopted this prediscursive approach to the body in their work. 1991). Dorn and Laws (1994) claim that this approach holds productive possibilities for medical geographers. Pile and Thrift (1995: 6) draw on the work of Merleau-Ponty (1962) to explain this prediscursive. the Oedipal phase also constitutes `. It does. are not fully represented or representable in patriarchal culture' (Irigaray. 1977. oedipalised male body. but also as the other who inhabits a (potentially) maternal body. . 1989a: 135). 1980) that construct it. there is seen to be . Merleau-Ponty examines the relationship between consciousness and the world. 1981. feminist and gender studies. provide a starting place for geographers who want to consider psychoanalytic approaches to the body (see Pile. 1987.488 (Dis)embodied geographies There have been many different approaches to understanding embodiment in recent years in a vast array of disciplinary areas including cultural studies. such as Luce Irigaray. Whitford. her imagery and her language. drawing especially on the work of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. such as Seamon (1977. Gallop. for example. the body is significant mainly in terms of the social systems (Turner. Another approach is to treat the body `as a site of cultural consumption' (Pile and Thrift. whose polymorphous perversity has become focused on the penis/phallus. philosophy. Such a body. sociology and geography. inscribed and written on. as with her sex. . 1985. Geographers Dorn and Laws (1994) claim that a focus on the prediscursive. who are sometimes grouped under the label new French feminists. the phallic. Merleau-Ponty's theory of the `lived body' has been used to inform the work of some feminist theorists. Foucault claims that `socio-political . The outcome of this process is the construction of two distinct bodies ± male and female ± with the female body being regarded as that which is lacking. `have taken the psychoanalytic idea of the Oedipal phase to theorise the entry into patriarchal culture' (Johnson. Thus. Weedon. 1989a: 135). but collapses those writing the new French feminism into a simplistic whole'. In particular. 1979. Johnson (1989a: 134) claims that a phenomenological approach to the body could be used by feminist geographers in order to `embody geography'. Johnson (1989a) argues that psychoanalytic approaches to the body. the body of the woman as castrated. could be useful for engaging a corporeal feminist geography and for reconceptualizing the mind/body dualism in geography. though. cited in Johnson. 1995: 7). this brief description `not only does great violence to the complexity and detail that is contained in psychoanalysis. . One of the most interesting things about Merleau-Ponty's philosophy for the purposes of this review is that he locates subjectivity not in consciousness or in the mind. a surface to be etched. . cited in Johnson. In Phenomenology of perception. 1992) or discourses (Foucault. It is this body/sex/symbol/metaphor which represents the `Law of the Father' and is the custodian and creator of patriarchal langauge and culture ± both symbolised by the phallus (Irigaray. Humanist geographers. 1989a: 135). social anthropology. Young (1990a). but in the body. phenomenological approach. phenomenological. In this approach. As Johnson (1989a: 135) notes. Julia Kristeva and Helene Cixous (see Cameron. Recently. 1980). Moi. In contrast. 1981. 1988. A group of feminist writers. He rejects dualist theories of body and soul and takes as his task the articulation of the prediscursive structures of existence. Johnson (1989a: 135) argues that `The psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan has been variously utilised by feminists wishing to understand how we come to acquire sexed identities'.
Constructionist feminists tend to be concerned with the processes by which bodies are written upon. Many of these approaches. Braidotti (1989. the distinction between these two approaches to embodiment might not be as straightforward as it is often assumed. Theorists such as Gatens (1991a) have persuasively argued that the distinction between sex and gender (and therefore presumably between essentialist and constructionist positions) does not hold.2 Constructionist feminists argue that bodies are discursively produced and that essentialist discourses ± that is. 1988. for instance. Often this work has been derived from the work of theorists such as Friedrich Nietzsche. overlap and it is not necessarily useful to attempt to pull them apart. biological body ± serve to naturalize what is in fact social difference. Kirby. or what approaches have been taken to understanding and examining it. marked. that these seemingly opposing positions are actually inseparable. For constructionist feminists. however. an understanding of women's position in society. references to the biological body are seen to reinforce patriarchal claims that women are naturally incapable of certain kinds of action. and as representation. There is another group who tend to be broadly labelled essentialist in feminist discourse. a binary distinction between sex and gender develops: between the brutely biological (sex) often considered by constructionists as being irrelevant to. 1991). and especially Kirby (1992) suggest. 1985. This approach may have much to offer geographers in that proponents of this approach argue that the body cannot be understood outside place (see Grosz. as Fuss (1989). Bodies are considered to be primary objects of inscription ± surfaces on which values. essentialist feminists attempt to work with the body. They do not wish to erase it in the way that they claim constructionist feminists do ± they want to treat the body as something more than representation. Grosz (1987. Johnson (1989a: 134) argues that Foucault's approach to embodiment (which she labels as `archaeological-historical') could be useful for geographers who wish to engage a corporeal feminist politics. 1992). Commentators such as Rich (1976. Kirby (1992: 1) argues.Robyn Longhurst 489 structures construct particular kinds of bodies with specific needs and wants' (Johnson. Yet. 1986). For example. They tend to take the biological/anatomical body that is popularly considered to be the `real' body as a starting point for their feminist analyses. see Foucault. and the construction of feminine and masculine identity (gender). 1977. 1991) and Kirby (1992) are often read and cited as belonging in this category. Essentialist feminists argue that by erasing the `real' body constructionist feminists tend to reinforce masculinist discourses which also ignore the body (see Gallop. In this way. Despite my lack of detail given on these various approaches I think that some general categorizing of what can be a bewildering array of literature on the body is instructive. Examples of feminists whose work could possibly be described as constructionist are Moi (1985). an increasingly sterile debate between constructionist and essentialist approaches to the body has occurred. 1989a: 135. Franz Kafka and Gilles Deleuze. sharing a complicitous relationship that produces material effects. as inscribed. Rather than continuing to search for definitive answers as to what a body might be. discourses which make reference to the physical. 1992). Over the past few years there has been a growing interest among social and critical theorists in the idea of embodiment as discursively produced. 1986). morality and social laws are inscribed. scarred. 1989) and Haraway (1990. In fact. and outside. much feminist work has been carried out which uses this approach to embodiment. In adopting either an essentialist or a constructionist approach. transformed or constructed by various patriarchal and heterosexist institutional regimes. 1980. it is useful to consider some of the ways in which the mind/body dualism has functioned in western .
1992. 1993. Rose. Woman is described only in terms of Man. one term (A) has a positive status and an existence independent of the other. Lloyd (1993: 2) claims: `From the beginnings of philosophical thought. Philo. Hegel. state/family and first world/third world. Lloyd. Dualistic or dichotomous structures mean that the two sides are not oppositions between two unrelated terms (such as A and B). The dualistic structure of western philosophy has now been examined by many philosophers including Nietzsche (1967. although in different ways at different times. these terms are not only mutually exclusive. Knowledge involved the subjection of the slave-like body to the soul. Much geographical discourse has focused on the distinctions between culture/nature. 1986. Hume. production/reproduction. public space/private space. its limiting boundaries are those which define the positive term' (Grosz. 1969).490 (Dis)embodied geographies thought. Vaiou. is a continuous spectrum that has been divided into discrete self-contained elements which exist in opposition to each other. as Grosz (1989: xvi) explains. work/home. Rather. 1981. this is a field of knowledge divided between two related terms (such as A and not-A): `Within this structure. Kant. McDowell. Since `feminism could be described as a discourse that negotiates corporeality. The dualisms culture/nature. or which is both. 1993). The mind/ body dualism is only one of many that are central to western thought. Bordo. Rousseau. western/oriental. it is not surprising perhaps that many feminists have commented on the gendered nature of the mind/body dualism. Aquinas. and thus describe systems of domination' (Grosz. geography has not been immune to dualistic thinking (see Sayer. Aristotle. Plato. For example. Augustine. `Dichotomies are inherently non-reversible. what a body is and what a body can do' (Kirby. Grosz (1989: xvi) adds: `When the system of boundaries or divisions operates by means of the construction of binaries or pairs of opposed terms. Satre and de Beauvoir) in order to trace associations between ideals of human reason and ideals of masculinity. and has no contours of its own. 1991. in the discipline of geography. Bondi and Domosh. A dualism. femaleness was symbolically associated with what Reason supposedly left behind ± the dark powers of . Descartes. but also mutually exhaustive'. What I want to discuss here is the gendered nature of the mind/body dualism. Needless to say. the body is described only in terms of the mind and so on. 1992. Lloyd (1993) examines the works of various philosophers (for example. 1992. This division of a spectrum into one term or its opposite leaves no possibility of a term which is neither one nor the other. 1989: xvi). One of the main points Lloyd makes is that a form/matter or mind/body distinction operated. 1992. reason/passion. 1989. There is much at stake in understanding not just this thing called the body but also its relationship to the mind. 1989: xvi). white/black and good/bad provide other examples. Le Doeuff. 1). non-reciprocal hierarchies. II Mind/body dualism in geography Western thought is characterized by dualisms. Bacon. for commentaries on dualistic thinking in geography). Feminist theorists have convincingly argued that dualisms are gendered (see Jay. Plato (427±347 BC) understood the mind to dominate matter. public/private. and more specifically. 1987. Berg. Bondi. 1991. For example. 1994. in Greek (and subsequent) theories of knowledge. the other term is purely negatively defined. Foucault (1970) and Derrida (1981).
Feminists. penetrates. the state and society . Rose (1993: 7) notes that `by the late eighteenth century. reproduction. .Robyn Longhurst 491 the earth goddesses. masculinity'. Irigaray. 1980. Kirby (1992: 12±13. the elderly. among others. Woman is the body. has been implicitly associated with negative terms such as `passion. Grosz. rational. this was not allowed for women. The body has been seen as reason's `underside'. 1993: 6±7). exteriority. Of course. 1988: 30). on the other hand. on the hystericization of women's bodies). transcendent and objective. passivity and femininity' (Grosz. Bordo (1986) and Grosz (1993). sexually indifferent subject ± a mind unlocated in space. This masculinist separation of minds from bodies. She remains stuck in the primeval ooze of Nature's sticky immanence. interiority. the family and the individual are often conceived as timeless and unvarying aspects of nature' and are associated with Woman (Gatens. located bodies. it is merely as an object that he grasps. Grosz (1989: xiv) argues that the mind has traditionally been correlated with positive terms such as `reason. 1991b: 1). such as Fox Keller (1985). 1986: 199) notes: `The subject is conceived as a disembodied. time or constitutive relations with others (a status normally only attributed to angels!)'. emphasis in original) extends this correlation between Woman and the body to make the point that Woman is the body: Although it is granted that Man has a body. 1994: 157±58. mess and matter-free. activity and masculinity'. its `negative. and the privileging of minds over bodies. rhythms and desires of their fleshy. femininity was associated with the nonrational ± hysterical ± Other (see Foucault. 1985. and in turn identified. social production. people with disabilities. non-consciousness. in `reality' both men and women `have bodies' but the difference lies in that men are thought to be able to pursue and speak universal knowledge. `The body and its passions. the mind and reason. homosexuals. 1993: 7). consciousness. subject. blacks. emotions. . Gatens (1991b: 1) extends the point claiming that `culture. 1989: xiv). `Masculinist rationality is a form of knowledge which assumes a knower who believes he can separate himself from his body. comprehends and ultimately transcends. remains a dominant conception in western culture. Irigaray (1984. so to speak. children and so on. object. In western culture. while white men may have presumed that they could transcend their embodiment (or at least have their bodily needs met by others) by seeing it as little more than a container for the pure consciousness it held inside. . This allows for him to consider his thoughts (his mind) to be autonomous. are understood to have a dynamic and developmental character' and are associated with Man. Conversely. a certain form of rationality became identified with. values. past experiences and so on' (Rose. have built on this argument about a mind/body dualism to make the claim that `what theorists of rationality after Descartes saw as defining rational knowledge was its independence from the social position of the knower' (Rose. immersion in unknown forces associated with mysterious female powers'. cited in Grosz. inverted double' (Grosz. As his companion and complement. The body. unencumbered by the limitations of a body placed in a particular time and place whereas women are thought to be bound closely to the particular instincts. a victim of the vagaries of her emotions. a creature who can't think straight as a consequence. Gatens (1988: 61) argues that `not only have mind and body been conceptualised as distinct in western knowledges but also the divisions have been conceptually and historically sexualised'.
He understands femininity. not least in the divergence of the social sciences from the natural sciences. the subject that is constituted as masculine. 1995). In this way. which Ãtre from a profession that is preoccupied with exploring the differences draws its raison d'e between the normal and the abnormal body. Geographers other than Rose (1993) have also applied arguments about masculinist rationality and mind/body dualism to the discipline. One of the best examples of this mapping is the current literature on AIDS and HIV (Gardner et al. `This supposed universality is what Michele Le Doeuff refers to as the exhaustiveness of masculinist claims to knowledge. Geography. the unmarked category. . there must be a contrast with the irrational' (and one could add here. . allows masculinist rationality to `claim itself as universal'. or any particular body. Rose refers to the master subject as the Same. femininity. white and heterosexual ± see Haraway. . like all of the social sciences. Rose (1993: 6) explains how the master subject (that is. The materiality of the body becomes abstracted. represents difference from the norm. Dorn and Laws (1994: 109) argue that `It is ironic that medical geography. 1990). on the other hand. it is still assumed that the two are distinct and one acts on the other . He sees other identities only in terms of his own self-perception. 1993: 7). the Same. is itself so resistant to treating the body as a .. Brown (1995: 162. across these geographies is the virus rather than the people dealing with it'.. and in a geography which is based on the separation of people from their environments. it assumes that it is comprehensive. . 1991: 183±201) in geography . By focusing on the virus the body becomes reduced to a mere `vector' (Brown. the mind) `is not the whole story of masculinism . the Other. Dutt et al. while initially appearing present. Embodied. From his position of power he tends to see them only in relation to himself. Its role is far more complex. 1989. masculinity. The master subject understands his supposed disembodied rationality to be the norm. only in terms of its difference from masculinity. 1994. rationality and Sameness have been given priority over the body. and thus the only knowledge possible' (Rose. Thus while geography is unusual in its spanning of the natural and social sciences and in focusing on the interrelation between people and their environments. irrational Woman. emphasis in original) stresses that `what is being plotted. . in order to establish rationality. 1995: 163) for illness. irrationality and Otherness in geography. and remains explicitly concerned with both sides of its constitutive oppositions. apart and acting on each other. Johnson (1989a: 134. emphasis added) explains: Cartesian dualism underlies our thinking in a myriad of ways. Brown (1995) argues that these scientific representations serve to distance textually and socially gay men (but the argument would also follow for others who have AIDS) as bodily carriers. He cannot recognize difference from himself in terms which do not refer to himself. The mind. the body. perceives other people who are not like him. for example. It has also been argued that medical geographers have tended to treat the body as Other in their studies (Dorn and Laws. is actually Othered. has been built upon a particular conception of the mind and body which sees them as separate. the marked category. Some have relied heavily on scientific epistemologies and ontologies and have drawn on the spatial science tradition in order to map the medical distribution of medical phenomena by counting the number of bodies with a particular disease (see Kearns' (1993) call for a reformed medical geography). etc. the body). Brown. Rose (1993) argues that geographical discourse is extremely mobile: it shifts focus. Rose (1993: 6) claims that reason (and one could add here. . mapped. The body is never entirely absent in geographical discourse. he sees them as what I shall term his Other.492 (Dis)embodied geographies Rose (1993: 7) points out that `the assumption of an objectivity untainted by any particular social position'. buorgeois.
Robertson. cited in Johnson. Since reason has come to be aligned with the mind and masculinity while nonreason has come to be aligned with the body and femininity. Yet. 1986: 30. Foord and Gregson. cited in Johnson. An ideal built on the exclusion of the body. have ignored the possibilities of examining the sexed body in space'. New Zealand urban planning `suffers from a pervasive undervaluation of information and scientific and logical method .3 Johnson (1990: 17) notes that the writings of feminist geographers have. Johnson (1989b) deconstructs a planning textbook by Mather (1986) entitled Land use. 1989b: 89). by and large. therefore. Dorn and Laws argue that medical geographers need to extend their current research agendas by drawing on the `rich possibilities' proposed by recent advances in feminist and cultural theory on embodiment. MacKenzie. Therefore. . even if bounded by imperfect information or tempered by caution or satisficing behaviour (Mather. like humanistic geography. They claim that feminists and cultural theorists have `confronted the politicization of bodies in their work and slowly geographers are beginning to take up the challenge' (Dorn and Laws.Robyn Longhurst 493 problematical concept'. 1987). topics and approaches are deemed inappropriate or illegitimate by the hegemons in `the discipline'. Johnson (1990: 18) goes on to explain that geographers. as Johnson (1989a) and Cream (1995) argue. Ignoring the body. cited in Longhurst. not only a male ideal as Johnson claims. Johnson argues that Mather sets up a number of dichotomous categories in the book including rational/irrational ± which is connected with a male/female distinction that prioritizes the former over the latter. into the nether world of biological essentialism'. 60. for Nobbs (1981: 19±20. She claims that rationality (mind). topics such as abjection. One of these is `the omission of the body as a vital element in the constitution of masculine and feminine identity and the consignment of those who argue for a ``corporal feminism'' . the ideal of rationality in land use and planning is. is the standard against which land-use decisions are evaluated or planning practice compared. Rose (1993: 86±112) examines `new' cultural geography arguing that. Rose notes. or privileging the mind over the body. 1984. in geographical work carries with it several `costs'. there are rich possibilities for feminist geographers in examining biology as a social construct rather than treating it as a natural given and/or ignoring it. 1989b: 89). . Feminist geographers have also tended to treat the body as geography's Other through employing the sex/gender dualism. 1995: 100) argues that there are a number of implications of employing the sex/gender distinction in geography. 1984. Johnson (1990: 18. The first cost is that many themes. been permeated by a distinction between sex and gender (see. `in their zeal to avoid the accusation of biologism and by embracing the logics of historical materialism and liberalism. 1986. but also a disembodied ideal. 1994: 109). Women and Geography Study Group of the IBG. It has also been argued that the body has been ignored or Othered by some `postmodern' and `new' cultural geographers. Gregory (1994: 157±59) claims that in their `odysseys through postmodern spaces and over postmodern landscapes they have also ± and less accountably ± lost sight of Lefebvre's defiant insistence on the body as the site of resistance'. love-making and blood spilt . 1986: 28. It is important that planning find some firmer roots in the rational and logical ground shared by current theories'. Barnes and Duncan. Themes such as embodiment and sexuality. such as emotion. bodies of the homeless. Gregory (1994: 157±59) points to the disembodied texts of postmodernist geographers Zukin (1991) and Soja (1992). . built on the exclusion of what are designated as female characteristics. remove the geographer from their texts and render him [sic] invincible as an author ± all-seeing and all-knowing. for example. 1983. it is inhabited by an `aesthetic masculinity'. McDowell. . subjectivity and so on.
as full and changing. For those people who are constructed by Cartesian philosophy as being tied to their bodies. distinct and unconnected. . are putting the dirty topics on the agenda. compared to the masculine construction of self as separate. in particular. more is at stake than what counts as legitimate knowledge in geography. able-bodied men. frail. as many. perhaps more so than any other science. childbirth and lactation. What constitutes appropriate issues and legitimate topics to teach and research in geography comes to be defined in terms of reason. and approaches that are deemed to be overly subjective and `nonacademic'. The feminine construction of self is an existence centred within a complex relational nexus. poor. McDowell (1993: 306) explains that: Women's experiences of. black. In other words. Although we all have bodies only those people who conceptually occupy the place of the mind are `thought' to be able to produce such knowledge. and tainted by. the quantitative. it is also vital to consider who counts as a bearer of legitimate knowledge. The cost of geography shunning dirty topics is borne by those people who desire to examine such topics. rationality and transcendent visions as though these can be separated out from passion. Gibson-Graham (1996) ask how might a respatialization of the body (a body. diverse and changing way through which each human embodied subject is formed. homosexual. preferring instead the clean. white. McDowell (1993: 306) refers to work by Rich (1986) which suggests that being a woman challenges conventional ideas of boundaries. people who themselves may be defined as Others (such as the physically weak. soil and mess up. their (essential) corporeality. they argue. especially the assumed boundary between the body and the object world. The mind/body dualism plays a vital role in determining what counts as legitimate knowledge in geography. irrationality and embodied sensation. threaten to spill. The second major cost of privileging the mind over the body in geographical work is that only some people can count as bearers of geographical knowledge. elderly. working class and so on). are forced to struggle for legitimation of their interests in the discipline. clean. that can be conceived as surface. between self and other. currently. Geographers. Their knowledge cannot count as knowledge for it is too intimately grounded in. diseased. bourgeois. To date. So long as the mind is privileged over the body.' People who want to address dirty (Other) topics. Over the past decade there have emerged powerful arguments about the need to examine new ways of developing frameworks and terms for capturing the multiple. for example. as Rose (1993: 1) notes: `The academic discipline of geography has historically been dominated by men. as active. all represent challenges to bodily boundaries. hard geography. III Embodied geographies Yet contestatory politics are at work. boundaries and community remain to be explored'. McDowell (1993) urges geographers to consider the body more carefully. transcendent visions are not considered possible. the clinical. the heroic and the scientific.494 (Dis)embodied geographies in violence. This is not surprising since. In a review of feminist geography. topics and approaches that have been adopted in geography have been those that address the needs and interests of men. the hegemonic group in geography will continue to edit out that which they consider to be dirty (read: inappropriate. menstruation. illegitimate ± topics that geography cannot yet speak of). many of the themes. McDowell (1993: 306) concludes the section claiming that `the implications of these differences for geographical concepts of spatiality.
They claim (1995: 11) that Editorials in several of the major geographical journals and reviews of the state of specific areas within the discipline in the early 1990s have singled out sexuality as a theme that will be an important focus for geographical work in the next decade . 1993). Other examples of work that focuses on embodiment and spatiality include edited collections of essays such as Duncan (1996). Nash (1996) and Pile (1996). Valentine (1992. What indeed happens to geography if we begin to consider how knowers and subjects can figure as sexually embodied? Can focusing attention on the sexed body as a critical component in the matrix of subjectivity enable further understandings of power. as random and indeterminate. will threaten the privileged term's unquestioned a priori dominance in the discipline. Ainley (forthcoming) and Nast and Pile (forthcoming).4 Research by people such as Bell (1991). Rodaway (1994). 1994. either singly or in body ballets. it is meant to be indicative of research on the body that is currently being carried out by geographers. Rather. . Bell and Valentine (1995: 11) argue that in the 1990s `Sexuality is ± at last ± finding a voice as a legitimate and significant area for geographical research'. Knopp (1990a. art historians. McDowell (1995). art historian Best (1995) in a chapter entitled . at the moment. For example. Johnston (1995. rest and encounter (Seamon 1980) ± and to it add the feminist concern for sexualised bodies moving in a space structured by patriarchy. such as architectural theorists. 1994). 1994). or between gender and sex. apprehend and engage with space. bodies into geographical discourse (although this may provide a useful start). Nor is it meant as a review of these works. and spatial politics'. Nast and Blum (1994). Namaste (1996) and Binnie (1997) is playing a vital role in retheorizing geography ± a retheorizing that involves problematizing the mind/body dualism and making bodies (sexual bodies) explicit in the production of geographical knowledge. This list is certainly not exhaustive. Rose (1993. (1994). Thrift and Johnston (1993) argue in Environment and Planning A that sexuality will be to geography in the 1990s what class and gender were to the discipline in the 1980s. There is indeed. Hodge (1995). Of course disciplinary boundaries are not strait-jackets and there is also a great deal of invaluable work being carried out on embodiment with a geographical or spatial focus by people in other disciplines. Routledge and Simons (1995) write on `Embodying spirits of resistance'. to our geography if we return to the work of David Seamon ± who used phenomenology to isolate how bodies. In particular. visions. Stewart (1995) entitles her review essay of Henri Lefebvre's The production of space. . 1990b. 1995). cultural critics and so on. Cream (1992. Lewis and Pile (1996). Longhurst (1994. `Bodies. Cameron and Costello (1994). In glancing through the articles in the 1995 issues of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space the words `body' and `embodying' are evident in a way that they were not several years ago. There are also numerous studies emerging that deal more explicitly with the sexualized body. 1995). For example. or inserting. 1992). Bell and Valentine (1995). Adler and Brenner (1992). literary critics. Bell et al. Work on the body is a growing area in geography. move through. 1994b).Robyn Longhurst 495 as depth. related to space through movement. a proliferation of work on the theme of `sexuality and space'. knowledge and social relationships between people and environments? I suspect it can. A new geography is possible from such beginnings. Gibson-Graham (1996). Johnson (1989a. 1995). Jackson (1991. I do not mean by way of simply focusing on. Also significant is the work of Costello (1993). 1996). Rather any upheaval of the dominant/ subordinate structure between mind and body. McDowell and Court (1994a. as process) afford new geographies? Johnson (1994: 107) asks: What happens then. built on the ways in which women and men are situated. Dyck (1995).
Acknowledgements I would like to thank Jon Binnie. 1992. Perhaps what needs to be opened up for discussion is women as rational and objective and men as embodied `passive receptacles' (Grosz. 1984. This work also performs another valuable function. 1994: 201). 1991b) and Grosz (especially 1992). feminist geographers to date have carried out substantial work on how (male) bodies make or create cities (see Matrix. heterosexual men with the mind and women. knowledge and social relationships between people and places. Weisman. To date. By challenge I do not mean that this dualism has necessarily been transcended. sexually and discursively or representationally produced. Yet surely there exists a mutually constitutive relationship between people and places (see Grosz. I personally would welcome such research as having the potential to prompt new understandings of power. 1992: 24). gayness and so on with the body. however. 1992. Spain. 242). have written extensively about embodiment.496 (Dis)embodied geographies `Sexualizing space' examines the ways in which space is conceived as a woman. In short. It is highly unlikely that anyone (at least certainly those immersed in western philosophical thought) can operate `beyond dualist classifications' (Vaiou. women's social subordination to men. rational/irrational and masculine/ feminine in geography. Another potentially useful topic is the bodies of white. surely. paying careful attention to space. for more careful and indepth research to be carried out by geographers in order to understand questions around sexual specificity. Robin Peace. . Making the body explicit unsettles the production of geographical knowledge reorienting it to the concerns of a variety of marginalized groups. black men. and the ways. in turn. IV Concluding remarks There is a great deal of scope. Such research can (usually inadvertently) work to reassert a conceptual realigning of white. such as Gatens (especially 1988. socially. the focus of many `emancipatory geographies' has tended to rest on gay men. space and embodiment is an interdisciplinary problematic which is attracting the attention of geographers as well as many others. for it is not possible simply to step outside binary logic. 1991a. 1992: 242). the differences between bodies. The aforementioned works serve to challenge the distinction commonly made between mind and body in geography. people with disabilities or women. Anna Yeatman and three anonymous referees for their extremely helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. heterosexual. Examining men's `embodied difference' from women may offer a way of deconstructing binaries such as mind/body. For example. 1992)? By that I mean. 1992) but have focused little attention on how cities make or create bodies with certain desires and capacities. is but one potential area of research for geographers who are interested in the body. that bodies reinscribe and project themselves onto their sociocultural environment so that this environment both produces and reflects the form and interest of the body' (Grosz. Philosophers. Examining the ways in which bodies are `psychically. and the mutually constitutive relationships that exist between bodies and places. Catherine Kingfisher. there is a `complex feedback relation' between bodies and environments in which each produces the other (Grosz. able-bodied men.
postmodernism and geography. NJ: Rutgers University Press. Bell. 1994: All hyped up and no place to go. Foster (1996) and Gatens (1991a. place. Gender. Signs 11. R. Bordo (1989. G. Berkeley. rather. 223±37. D. Nancy Chodorow (1978) and Michelle Barrett (1980). 89±105. Irigaray (1985). 1990b). and Brenner. The advantages of this conceptualization were that it offered a way of distinguishing between the predetermined. 4. Bordo. 1986: The Cartesian masculinization of thought. 1989: The politics of ontological difference. It organizes a listserv. and Domosh. Bondi. L. Ainley. This network provides a list of contact addresses of people who are working on or interested in `geographies' of `sexualities'. In Grosz. It is with some trepidation that I list the names of these authors here (and in the sections that follow) since the problem of which authors belong in which categories. Gallop (1988). 1995: Sexualizing space. . Ann Oakley (1972). 2. 1994: Masculinity.Robyn Longhurst 497 Notes 1. 1991a. J. CA: University of California Press. Braidotti (1989. 1±27. and the body. 1992: Other figures in other places: on feminism. workshops. Binnie. and Valentine. Jaggar and Bordo (1989). and a binary discourse of `theory' and `empirical investigation' in the human geography of Aotearoa/New Zealand. for example. 199±213. 13±33. 1994. L. 1992. A. Between feminism and psychoanalysis. and Probyn. editor. publications and social events for members. New York: Routledge. Barrett. 1993). Bondi. London: Routledge.. S. Berg. Texts are read in a multiplicity of ways and labels such as phenomenological approach or social constructionist approach are highly contestable. innate characteristics of men and women and the other social differences. Place and Culture 1. J. 1995: Introductions: orientations. 245±60. See. 1989. Place and Culture 1. editors. R. Best. editors. 1993). it carried an evaluation of the social as the determinant of women's unequal position (see Gatens. 1985.. forthcoming: The space files. In Jagger. L. S.. T. editors. Butler (1990. Mapping desire: geographies of sexualities. M. Foucault (1980. D. Bell. 1991b. References Adler. 1997: Coming out of geography: towards a queer epistemology? Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 10.. In Bell. Kirby (1987. Area 23. S. ÐÐ 1991: Patterns of dissonance.. M. New Brunswick. 1992: Gender and dichotomy. London: Verso. 1993. it was derived from the work of psychologist Robert Stroller (1968). The distinction between sex and gender did not originate from feminist writings. 1995). but that it is primarily socialization that results in women and men having different gender characteristics. and Valentine G. paper sessions at conferences.. 1996). E. G. Bell. 1991). 1986). Progress in Human Geography 16. 1991: Insignificant Others: lesbian and gay geographies. Braidotti. Cream. 3. 323±29. or under which labels. D. ÐÐ 1993: Unbearable weight: feminism. Haraway (1990). Further. 1992: Gender and space: lesbians and gay men in the city. for a critique of the sex/ gender distinction). J. Kate Millett (1970). 98±104. and Bordo.D.M. 181±94. western culture. They used the distinction between sex and gender in order to argue that there are biological differences between the sexes at birth. E. J. It was adopted by a number of influential feminist writers including Germaine Greer (1970). London: Routledge. ÐÐ 1989: The body and the reproduction of femininity: a feminist appropriation of Foucault. 1991). Grosz (1988. Gender/ body/knowledge: feminist constructions of being and knowing. Sexy bodies: the strange carnalities of feminism. Cambridge: Polity Press. Binnie. Gender. S. In Brennan. 24±34. 239±56. In 1992 David Bell established a network called `Sexuality and Space'. London: Routledge. D. 1980: Women's oppression today: problems in Marxist feminist analysis. It is also worth noting that in 1992 Beatriz Colomina edited a collection of essays published in a volume entitled Sexuality and space. and Valentine. 31±47. is a difficult one. Young (1990a. Shilling (1993). International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 16.
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