EASA 2018, the biannual conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, will take place on 14-17 August 2018 in Stockholm. Life of Breath team members Jane Macnaughton and Andrew Russell will be joined by Anna Harris (Maastricht University) to convene a panel.
The panel, entitled ‘Movement, stasis and interoception: unsettling the body’ will apply theories of embodiment, including interoceptive awareness, to movement-based approaches in health and wellbeing.
The movement of bodies is a key focus of attention for wellbeing and health in both clinical and non-clinical contexts. For example, the training of health professionals involves the unsettling of the body to take on new forms of movement in relation to examination techniques, caring practices and surgical procedures. These new movements must become embodied, or settled within the body in order for practices to become expert and second nature. Secondly, for those with a chronic illness, new approaches to movement are also gaining increased attention, not just because of their role in enhancing fitness, but because they direct individuals’ attention upon the body. Chronic debilitating illness, such as respiratory disease, is often associated with reduced bodily movement, and in turn with poor interoceptive (internal body) awareness. Reduced interoception is equated with problems of accuracy in symptom perception, and can lead to worsening outcomes, loss of agency and control. New approaches to movement in community settings, including arts-based interventions using dance or singing in the case of lung disease, aim to unsettle habitual embodied states.
These are just two examples of possible topics this panel might address in applying anthropological concepts and techniques to better understand the relationships between movement, stasis, interoception, health and wellbeing. It thus offers a different take on the conference theme of ‘moving’, one that focusses on how movement unsettles and reorients individual, social and political bodies, enabling new perspectives not only on moving but on stasis and repose.