Body Politics: Revolt and City Celebration

In Richard Shusterman (ed.), Bodies in the Streets: Somaesthetics of City Life. Boston: (forthcoming)
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This chapter attends to somaesthetic expressions occurring irrespective of knowledge of the movement, using Mandalay’s Water Festival and Cairo’s Arab Spring as case studies. These celebrations and protests feature bodies creatively gravitating around urban structures and according to emotional, cultural concerns, all of this together defining city spaces for a time. Bodies also become venues for artistic refashioning, for example, through creative conversion of injuries into celebratory badges of dissent. Geared almost therapeutically towards life-improvement—albeit sometimes implicitly—these celebrations and protests also have meliorative aspects that mark the somaesthetic movement. Moreover, they have a shared, public character stressed by Shusterman, but arguably lost on many because of his interest in self-focused meditation and the popular appeal of such exercises among those interested in body practices.
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