Bodily limits to autonomy : Emotion, attitude, and self-defense

In Sue Campbell, Letitia Meynell & Susan Sherwin (eds.), Embodiment and Agency. Pennsylvania State University Press (2009)
My aim is to show that the development of self-defense skills functions as a means of overcoming bodily encoded limits to autonomy. Through this discussion, I hope to broaden our understanding of the embodied nature of autonomy by illuminating the connection between bodily training and responses such as self-confidence, self-trust, and self-esteem. My paper aims toward these goals in two steps. First, it shows that self-defense training is valuable for women because it provides a security that one can avoid or counter personal violence directed toward oneself. Second, I develop an account of self-defense training as a source of self-confidence. For women living within a social network working to undermine their self-trust and self- esteem, it is important to cultivate self-confidence, particularly since elements of that network involve threatening displays of aggression or superiority. Self- defense training in my account is not simply a route to recovery in the wake of personal violence. Instead, and primarily, it is the development of skills aimed at preventing personal violence.
Keywords self-defence  self-defense  embodiement  agency  autonomy  violence  violence against women  self-confidence  self-trust  self-esteem
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