Somatic Modes of Attention Author(s): Thomas J. Csordas Source: Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 8, No. 2 (May, ), pp. Published by: Wiley on behalf of. Somatic Modes of Attention Author(s): Thomas J. Csordas Reviewed work(s): Source: Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 8, No. 2 (May, ), pp. Somatic Modes of Attention Thomas J. Csordas DepartmentofAnthropology Case WesternReserve University. Embodimentas a paradigmor methodological.

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In Sociologie et Anthropologie. Remember me on this computer.

So ingrainedis the concept of mental imagerythat the termphysical imagery strikes one almost as an oxymoron. Outline of a Theory of Practice.

Are we to place words of knowledge, plasmaciones, cama nilai, and embodied countertransferenceon off equal footing as phenomenato be interpreted,or can we justify using the last of these as a frameworkfor interpretingthe formerthree? This suggests thatneither attendingto attdntion attendingwith the body can be taken for granted,but must be formulatedas culturallyconstitutedsomatic modes of attention. We would then be taking a methodological step away from an empiricist conception of imaginationas abstractrepresentationto a phenomenologicalconceptionof imagi- nationas a featureof the bodily synthesis, which Merleau-Ponty described as characteristicof a humanconsciousness thatprojectsitself into a culturalworld.

One healerreportedthata snappingin his earmeans someone in the assembly is undergoingan earhealing,andthatintensepainin his heartmeansa hearthealing. Log In Sign Up.

Somatic Modes of Attention

How can this be, however, when analytical psychology is itself the source of precisely the kind of data we wish to analyze under the heading of somatic mode of attention? Most important,he argues that such experiences are communicationfrom patients,and againsttraditionaltheoriesof countertrans- ference thatimpugnthem as pathologicalreactionsof the therapist. Help Center Find new research papers in: If this feeling were absentas he came to a particularperson in line for his prayer, he might pass over thatperson, assumingthatGod did not plan to heal her at that moment.


The natureof this if is illustratedby the following vignette from my fieldwork. I would endorsethe critiquethatmeaningcannotbe reducedto a sign, This content downloaded from They understandthese bodies as interrelatedanalyticdomainsmediatedby emotion. Let me reiterate,however, that the constructI am trying to elucidate includes culturallyelaborated attentionto and with the body in the immediacyof an intersubjectivemilieu.

It has somztic become legitimatefor Wikan to tackle the problemof an experience-near anthropology, for Turner and Bruner to espouse an “anthropologyof experience,”andfor JoanandArthurKleinman to declarean “ethnography of experience,” approachesthat are more or less explicitly phenomenological.

In this article, Thomas Csordas contributes to the development of embodiment as a methodological agtention. Although glimpsesof thebodyhave appearedregularlythroughoutthehistoryof ethnography e. Perhapsmost similar are the proprioceptiveexperiences,or plasmaciones.

Yet, if indeterminacyis fundamentalto existence, only carefulelaborationof its defining features, such as Merleau-Ponty’stranscendenceand Bourdieu’s improvisation, will allow it to become an awarenessof our existentialconditionwithoutbecoming an excuse for analyticalimprecision. How does the the concept of “somatic modes of somati fill this opening? In Pain as HumanExperience: This “nativeexegesis” subsumes notions of divine agency, countertransference,and a psychosomatic understandingof empathy.

The core of the phenomenonis that an expectantfatherexperiencesbodily sensations attunedto those of his pregnant mate. Soatic conventionalanthropologyof ritualhealing would say simply that the healer goes into trance,assumingtranceto be a unitaryvariableor a kind of black box factoredinto the ritualequation,and perhapsassumingthatsomatic manifestationsare epiphenomenaof trance. In the context of ongoing therapeuticattentionto the theme of overdisciplineandexcessive needfor control,it was not surprisingthathe observed thathis fists wereclenchedandhis knees locked.

My attenrion is that the “affect” of affect studies may be understood primarily as a product or consequence of social forces rather than as a phenomenon of intentionality and existence. First,consideranointings,words of knowledge, videncias,andplasmaciones as kinds of intuition.


Somatic Modes of Attention — Cultural Anthropology

About the Author Dr. On the pathological side, the hyper-vigilance associatedwith hypochondriaand somatizationdisorder,and the various degrees This content downloaded from Indiana University Press, How might they approach fieldwork? An ongoing surveillance,monitoring,and commentary on body shape includes the changes that begin when a woman becomes pregnant. Somatic Attention and Revelatory Phenomena The somaticmode of attentionI will delineatein this section is thatof healers who learn aboutthe problemsandemotionalstates of their clients throughbodily experiences thoughtto parallelthose of the afflicted.

Medical AnthropologyQuarterly NS 6: The setting was a CatholicCharismatichealing session conductedby a healer who was also a trainedpsychotherapist,and who made particularuse of “bodywork”techniques. Such evidence typically led the head of the householdto summon the family’s young women and urge one of them to reveal her pregnancybefore somethinguntowardoccurred. Because we arenot isolatedsubjectivitiestrappedwithinourbodies, but share an intersubjectivemilieu with others,we must also specify thata somaticmode of attention means not only attention to and with one’s own body, but includes attentionto the bodies of others.

In my own current way of thinking, affect fits into embodiment as a methodological field as one among ten components of corporeality.