Body and Society 6 (3-4):107-126 (2000)

Michael Michael
Yonsei University
This article begins with a consideration of the `pure' unmediated relation between the human body and nature, exemplified, in different ways, by environmental expressivism, and Ingold's subtle analysis of affordance and the taskscape. It is argued that perspectives fail properly to incorporate the role of mundane technology in the mediation of human-nature relations. Drawing upon the work of Michael Serres, and, in particular, his concept of the parasite, I explore how these mundane technological artefacts - specifically, walking boots - intervene in the circuits of communication between humans and the natural environment. This re-orientation traces how the local relation between bodies and environments is a complex movement between the material and semiotic, the local and the global. In the process, I draw upon four aspects of walking boots: first, there is the role of boots as mechanical technologies that can cause pain, dissolving identity and the relation between humans and nature; second, there is the role of boots as signifying style and identity; third, there is the role of boots as embodiments of procedures of standardization and objectification; and fourth, there is the role of boots as technological means of damage to nature. Finally, in concluding, I tentatively consider some of the political implications of this way of theorizing the relation between bodies and environments.
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DOI 10.1177/1357034x00006003006
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References found in this work BETA

We Have Never Been Modern.Bruno Latour - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
The Parasite.Michel Serres - 2007 - Univ of Minnesota Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Automobilities.Mike Featherstone - 2004 - Theory, Culture and Society 21 (4-5):1-24.
Serres and Foundations.Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen - 2020 - Theory, Culture and Society 37 (3):3-22.
Multi-Sensory Tourism in the Great Bear Rainforest.Bettina van Hoven - 2005 - In Alan F. Blackwell & David MacKay (eds.), Power. Cambridge University Press.

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