Embodiment below discourse

the internalized domination of the masculine perspective

Allon J. Uhlmann, Jennifer R. Uhlmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the embodied experience of gender. It draws upon Bourdieu's sociology of practice, cognitive sciences, and feminist phenomenology to highlight instances of non-discursive, cultural conditioning of embodied experience. Specifically, the paper focuses on the internalization by both men and women of the masculine perspective. It does so by discussing regular patterns of word ordering in English, comportment and motility, and orientation to the body. These patterns are cultural in that they are acquired through social interaction. They are non-discursive, though, in that they are not encoded in any system of representations and are not generally transmitted through discourse. Rather, they are infra-discursive, in that they exist below discourse.

It emerges that, in general, the prototypical perspective adopted by male and female European social agents is distinctly more masculine than feminine. However, in restricted contexts, such as parenthood, this prototypicality is inverted. In this, we see how internalized structures match the broad overarching social structures. In the course of the discussion, we seek to further develop and contextualize some further analyses, such as Iris Young's phenomenology of corporeal experience and Cooper and Ross's analysis of word ordering. We ultimately hope to demonstrate the critical analytical importance of the embodied reality which is clearly culturally variable, yet not, strictly speaking, discursively constituted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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