2017Teil eines Buches DOI: 10.18452/19345
The Human Body as Matter (of Concern) in Social Thought
Recent developments in molecular biology and the neurosciences on body–environment interaction and interdependence have led the natural sciences to prominently challenge the social sciences to refurbish some of the central elements of their theoretical apparatus and enter into joined empirical research. In the neurosciences, and departing from older perspectives, perception, cognition and knowledge are increasingly seen as integral elements of action, dynamically situating/embedding ‘cognitive agents’ in their socio-cultural-natural environments. Likewise, recent research in epigenetics suggests that bodily practices, shaped by their social and material environments within which they are performed, imprint a body that becomes highly susceptible to both past ‘experiences’ of and to present changes in its social and material environment. In this chapter, we critically review the research (practices) that prompted this challenge and discuss how it affects, but does not consider, social theories of interaction, habituation and inheritance. In a second step, we develop a social and practice theory on the basis of a co-laborative research agenda of ‘embodied practice’ that stresses the somatic context, performativity, historicity and dynamic situativity of embedded bodies. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and methodological implications of such an endeavour.
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Published first as (erstmalig folgendermaßen erschienen): Jörg Niewöhner and Stefan Beck: “Embodying Practices. The Human Body as Matter (of Concern) in Social Thought”. In: Methodological Reflections on Practice Oriented Theories. Edited by Michael Jonas, Beate Littig, and Angela Wroblewski. Springer, 2017, pages 63–77. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-52897-7_5