Body – Image – Affect

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC38 Biography and Society (host committee)

Language: English

Bodies, images, and affect are closely interrelated. Bodies are performed as images. Body surfaces are painted (make-up, tattoos, body art), clothes and jewelry are arranged to express a mood, attract attention, or indicate group membership or identity attention. Through gestures, glances, and movements, bodies are presented in ways that shape specific interactions and situations (Goffman). They express a person’s bodily relation to the world (Merleau-Ponty), and can be seen as symbolization of gender, racial, ethnic, sexed, and other relations involving power. Being situated in images and pictures affects us emotionally and in an embodied way, often occurring outside our conscious awareness.  This provides a welcome opportunity for biographical research to show how  our “ways of seeing” (Berger) are biographically informed and, at the same time, ongoingly  construct individuals’ biographies, giving meaning and ‘color’ to  the  different social contexts in which they find themselves.

We invite papers which deal with the relation between the visual as well as imaginative relation between body, image and affect from a biographical perspective, following questions such as:

- In what way photographs and other images of bodies in different life stages are used and negotiated?
- In what way a ‘life’ becomes visible when looking at the face or body of a person?
- How do bodily images generate affective reactions which shape how we experience ourselves and our circumstances?
- What specific opportunities and challenges does a visual approach to biography offer?

Session Organizers:
Roswitha BRECKNER, University of Vienna, Austria and Kathy DAVIS, VU University, Netherlands
Kathy DAVIS, VU University, Netherlands
Oral Presentations
The Body of the Others and the Politics of Refusal in Europe
Monica MASSARI, University of Naples Federico II, Italy