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Politics of Touch

Sense, Movement, Sovereignty

2006
Author:

Erin Manning

Politics of Touch

Detects the political event that occurs whenever two people touch

In this groundbreaking work, Erin Manning reconsiders how politics attempt to paralyze the body through the idea of the national body politic. Manning develops a new way to conceive the role of the senses, and of touch in particular. Exploring concepts of violence, gender, sexuality, security, democracy, and identity, she traces the ways in which touch informs the body.

Politics of Touch makes a powerful contribution to contemporary debates in cultural studies. This is a vital, rich, and thought-provoking book that creates new concepts out of its surprising variety of sources and inspirations.

Steven Shaviro, author of Connected, or What It Means to Live in the Network Society

Political philosophy has long been bound by traditional thinking about the body and the senses. Through an engagement with the state-centered vocabulary of this discipline, Politics of Touch examines how sensing bodies continually run up against existing political structures. In this groundbreaking work, Erin Manning reconsiders how new politics can arise that challenge the national body politic.

In Politics of Touch, Manning develops a nuanced understanding of the role of the senses and of touch in particular. Exploring concepts of violence, gender, sexuality, security, democracy, and identity, she traces the ways in which touch informs and reforms the body. Specifically considering tango—a tactile, rhythmic, and improvisational dance—she foregrounds movement as the sensing body's intervention into the political.

With a fresh vision and an original theoretical basis, Manning shows the ontogenetic potential of the body, and in doing so, redefines our understanding of the sense of touch in philosophical and political terms.

Politics of Touch

Erin Manning is assistant professor of fine arts at Concordia University and the author of Ephemeral Territories.

Politics of Touch

Politics of Touch makes a powerful contribution to contemporary debates in cultural studies. This is a vital, rich, and thought-provoking book that creates new concepts out of its surprising variety of sources and inspirations.

Steven Shaviro, author of Connected, or What It Means to Live in the Network Society

Politics of Touch

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: A typical Expressions and Political Inventions Bodies on the Move—Political Recompositions

1. Negotiating Influence: Touch and Tango Gestural Politics—Touching the Impenetrable—Te toucher, toi—Eventfully Tender—Worlding Touch
2. Happy Together: Moving toward Multiplicity Tango Movements—Tango Friendships—Multiple Movements of Desire—A Last Tango
3. Erring toward Experience: Violence and Touch Means without an End—Violence—Erring—Divine Violence—Return to the Garden
4. Engenderings: Gender, Politics, Individuation Touch—Gender—Symbiosis—Interlude—Individuation—Politics
5. Making Sense of the Incommensurable: Experiencing Democracy Expressions of the Political—Thick to Think—Shifting Skinscapes— Democracy—Making Sense of Politics
6. Sensing beyond Security: What a Body Can Do Do Not Touch—Tactically Untouchable—Structurally Insecure— Of Pacts and Political Becomings—Posthuman Prosthetics— A Touch of Insecurity

Notes
Bibliography

Index