The body of emotion

“We are born into the world with an unselected body. This body, it is necessary for everyone to tame it like a foreign and wild animal at the same time, it is necessary to make it conform to the cultural expectations. Emancipation begins with an acceptance between tensions, if not contradictions between what our body communicates to us and that of others, and between personal experience and imposed social rules. »So begins Body Adventure by Fabienne Martin-Juchat who immediately asks the question of the assigned body in which we are born, a body to be tamed which is thus subject to the rules of learning because it is with this body that we will experience the relationship to ourselves – same and relationship to others. She then points out the difficulty of accepting a suffering body with the example and testimony of Alexandre Jollien who testifies “to a body that does not correspond to personal and community expectations”, this is still the case for transgender and all the dysmorphisms imposed at birth, a place of confrontation between a phenotypic heritage and an intimate experience which cannot be freed from external media coverage by and through the body. We obviously cannot get rid of what psychoanalysis and then ethology have called “the bodily self” with impunity.

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Emotions in thermal scan (Huis In ‘t Veld et al., 2014) **

Fabienne Martin-Juchat specifies her questioning: “Learning to communicate with your own body also allows you to feel that all living bodies communicate. Much of the bodily communication is therefore not visible. This mode of communication is amazing, because when you learn to “listen” to it, an entire and unknown territory opens up to the adventurer. “This is the field of” somatic “communication, which covers the very wide range of pleasures and bodily exercises, of the perception and awareness of our” living body “(to use Bernard Andrieu’s expression) and of the relation to the animal body, to universal resonances. Because bodily intelligence, this communication with the soma, “Living and palpitating flesh” can be learned. For some certainly in an intuitive way, for others by the mediatization of practices, conceptions, traditions, philosophies such as Chinese medicine and many unconventional or traditional practices which proceed from the analysis of clues bodily, from a “work of feeling in the body of the caregiver of what is happening in that of the patient. »Unlike modern Western medicine (which is medicine of opposites)« the intercorporeal relationship allows the caregiver to establish diagnosis, prognosis and treatment ». This body analysis is essentially activated by touch.

Fabienne Martin-Juchat thus describes the numerous current research studies on the living body and its social interactions.

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“In The Flesh”, BBC series, 2013.

Our new ways of being reflect our communities of belonging for which the body plays an important role in terms of identity. In another time, dandyism opposed bourgeois society by “appearing provocative.” Today, things are more complex but the body is always put forward as a claim for personal or group existence. “What is aimed at is an ideal of oneself which must be visible, clearly displayed by codes, clues, signs. One of the most emblematic examples is hair growth (male as well as female), which is naturally constructed. “This is how we observe gender injunctions:” the fashionable standardized body to date includes a ‘naturally’ masculine beard as a sign of virility, ‘naturally’ long hair as a sign of femininity, and at the same time. time epilation of the penis, armpits and eyebrows, this standard being valid for both sexes. ” Fabienne Martin-Juchat analyzes very finely what we observe on a daily basis, the insidious fluctuation of our appearances in connection with fashion and the “intergender” evolution of our society, each sex knowing injunctions which are ultimately often respected with discipline: ” Lhe body must be muscular while showing plumpness in order to embody the tension between combativeness and benevolence, determination and gentleness, conviction and humility. »Through these injunctions which sometimes seem contradictory, we perceive the ambiguities of our society which is not always clear with the orientations and the sexual identity. This fascinating reflection is necessary for us today to know each other better and to both understand the complexity of our interactions.

Fabienne Martin-Juchat is University Professor in Communication Sciences at Stendhal University – Grenoble 3. She research focuses on bodily and emotional communication, the emergence of new forms of mediation and the transfer of knowledge between artists and actors in the socio-economic world. She is also the author of The Corps and the Media (De Boeck, 2008) and Sad distance (e-book, PUG, 2020).

The adventure of the body by Fabienne Martin-Juchat is published by the Presses Universitaires de Grenoble in the beautiful collection “Nothing Impossible” directed by Thierry Ménissier who already welcomes Why still feminism de Crystal Cordell et God without religion. Faith and democracy, by Thierry Vincent, very topical questions.

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*Body Adventure, La Body communication, a path to emancipation, de Fabienne Martin-Juchat, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble (PUG), 2020. **Elisabeth M. J. Huis In ‘t Veld, Geert J. M. van Boxtel and Beatrice de Gelder. « The Body Action Coding System II: muscle activations during the perception and expression of emotion » Front Behav Neurosci. 2014; 8: 330.

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The body of emotion


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