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body, geography and

  Whether time-geography actually dealt with the body is a matter of dispute (Rose, 1993; Pile and Thrift, 1995). Certainly the body became an object of fascination in the 1990s — \'the body as a surface to be mapped, a surface for inscription, as a boundary between the individual subject and that which is Other to it, as the container of individual identity, but also as a permeable boundary which leaks and bleeds and is penetrable\' (McDowell and Sharpe, 1997, p. 3). The reasons for this fascination are diverse: Martin (1992, 121) speculates that the roots are socio-economic, reflecting a \'dramatic transition in body percept and practice\', which she locates in the transition from Fordist mass production to the era of flexible accumulation (and might also be located at the increasingly flexible boundary between body and machine: see cyberspace; cyborg). But \'the body\' is also at the centre of a number of contemporary theoretical and methodological influences and debates. It figures in Lefebvre\'s theorizing of the production of space: abstract space and practices of vision and visuality diminish bodily experience and desire but the body is a key site for the continual disruption of abstract space. Foucault\'s theorizing of biopower and discourses of sexuality articulate the body as a site and filter for diverse power relations. psychoanalytic theory locates gender formation in the body (i.e. sexual difference) and Identity formation in the stabilization of a bodily boundary; geographers have extended this psychoanalytic theorizing of boundary formation to understand processes of social exclusion (Pile, 1996; Sibley, 1995; see subject formation, geographies of).

As a site of speculation, the body has enabled theorists to negotiate a range of troubling dualisms. Notions of biopower blur the distinction between the individual and the social. Feminist theorists have used the body to disrupt the dualisms between sex and gender; mind and body; and subject and object. By understanding the sexed body (either male or female) as discursively constructed out of polymorphous bodies, feminists such as Butler have unsettled a biological understanding of sex and the body (see performativity and queer theory), and consequently the distinction between sex and gender (see gender and geography). Challenging the distinctions between mind and body, and between subject and object, has been one avenue for criticizing the masculinism of the discipline of geography (Longhurst, 1997; Rose, 1993) and has led to methodological prescriptions for embodied or situated knowledge.

A point of debate focuses around whether or how to theorize a residual beyond discourse (and hence the relations between materiality and discourse). Theorists drawing on Merleau Ponty\'s philosophy frame the body as prediscursive (Young, 1990). Butler (1990) has criticized Foucault for reserving a prediscursive, unregulated body as a site of pleasure. Butler (1993) theorizes a residual in other terms; she argues that some part of subjectivity exceeds the surface of the body (is \'corporeally illegible\'). Grosz (1995) opens up some analytical space by drawing on Deleuze\'s theorizing of the body as movement, arguing that this reverses the Foucauldian links between knowledge — power-bodies such that bodies can be seen as opening new knowledges (see nonrepresentational theory).

These discussions only obliquely address a problem identified by Seager (1997), namely a seeming disregard for \'real\' as opposed to representations of bodies; in levelling this criticism, Seager articulates a continuing point of tension between cultural and political economy perspectives. We do, however, see attempts to mediate these tensions in geography: in discussions of how (raced) bodies define new oppositional spaces (e.g. Stewart, 1995), of how spaces constitute sexed bodies (e.g. McDowell and Court (1994) on the City of London; Nast and Pile, 1998), on the geopolitical effects of representations of masculinities and femininities (Nast, 1998) and in efforts to open what has been labelled an \'ableist\' discipline to geographies of disability (Chouinard, 1997). (GP)

References Butler, J. 1990: Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge. Butler, J. 1993: Critically queer. GLQ 1: 17-32. Chouinard, V. 1997: Making space for disabling differences: challenging ableist geographies. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15: 379-87. Grosz, L. 1995: Space, time, and perversion. New York: Routledge. Longhurst, R. 1997: (Dis)embodied geographies. Progress in Human Geography 21: 486-501. Martin, E. 1992: The end of the body? American Ethnologist 19: 121-40. McDowell, L. and Court, G. 1994: Performing work: bodily representations in merchant banks. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 12: 727-50. McDowell, L. and Sharpe, J., eds, 1997: Space, gender, knowledge. London: Arnold. Nast, H. 1998: Unsexy geographies. Gender Place and Culture 5: 191-206. Nast, H. and Pile, S. 1998: Places through the body. London: Routledge. Pile, S. 1996: The body and the city: psychoanalysis, space and subjectivity. London: Routledge. Pile, S. and Thrift, N., eds, 1995: Mapping the subject: geographies of cultural transformation. London: Routledge. Rose, G. 1993: Feminism and Geography: the limits of geographical knowledge. Cambridge: Polity Press. Seager, J. 1997: Reading the morning paper, and on throwing out the body with the bathwater. Environment and Planning A 29: 1521-23. Sibley, D. 1995: Geographies of exclusion. London: Routledge. Stewart, L. 1995: Louisiana subjects: power, space and the slave body. Ecumene: A Journal of Environment, Culture and Meaning 2: 227-46. Young, I. 1990: Throwing like a girl and other essays in feminist philosophy and social thought. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press.



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