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Mobile Visual Bodies (Moving Seeing Bodies)

Leigh, Jennifer S (2023) Mobile Visual Bodies (Moving Seeing Bodies). In: Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. Bloomsbury, London. (In press) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:101618)

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How does the mobile body fit when it is considered as a subject within visual culture? How should it be conceptualised? One important ontological issue to address is that of who is doing the moving and the seeing. The conventional Western philosophical approach is to understand the mind and body to be disassociated or separated, a perspective that is often termed Cartesian mind/body duality (Descartes 1641). The separation of the mind (the ‘I’) from the body (which is often relegated to a lower or secondary role) dates back to the Platonic ideal of a ‘purified soul’ (Leder 1990). The hegemonic prevalence of this discourse in Western society has contributed to its ‘decorporalisation’ (Leigh 2024). Within visual culture this would relegate the body to be an object viewed by a person or audience, perhaps through a static piece of art such as a photograph or image. It is easy to imagine witnessing the aesthetic beauty of a dancer caught mid-leap flying across a stage, legs extending behind and in front in an impossible angle and arms stretching out even to the tips of their fingers; or the raw power and energy needed to send the sweat and spit flying visibly as a punch lands on an opponent’s jaw. Equally, film or video can capture some of the qualities of a mobile moving body, highlighting it for others to see. Visual representations of the moving body are embedded within contemporary culture; for example how sports predominate schedules and are filmed and televised globally, how games are visualised, and how athletes’ moving bodies are filmed playing, diving, swimming, running, and leaping.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: visual culture; embodiment; body; bodies; mobile; moving; seeing; Embodied Inquiry
Subjects: A General Works
H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
N Visual Arts
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Jennifer Leigh
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 12:56 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2023 15:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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