Academic journal article New Formations

Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation

Academic journal article New Formations

Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation

Article excerpt

Lisa Blackman, Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation, London, Sage, 2012, 240pp; £26.99 paperback, £85 cloth

Lisa Blackman's latest book Immaterial Bodies draws from the rich literature that has formed around body and affect studies (Blackman is the current editor of Body and Society). It well describes how, following the turn to affect, we have witnessed the near dissolution of the subject. However, Blackman makes the case that even if the body is no longer an image or self-contained entity, subjectivity has not gone away. So what has it become? Lining up her influences from Frank's early sociology of the body to Featherstone and Turner's co-editing of Body and Society in the mid 1990s, Blackman sets about deftly answering this question by re- entering into the current turn to affect, and almost synonymous revival of nineteenth-century crowd theory, from a unique position. That is to say, although often recast as a biomediation or assemblage, there is still a requirement, Blackman argues, to attend to this immaterial corporality and locate the subject of affect.

The risks associated with introducing a theory of subjectivity to affect studies are fully grasped by Blackman. There is always the problem of undoing all the positive work done to wrestle back the human experience of the world from the relations of interiority found in cognitive psychology and phenomenological studies. But this is not an attempt to psychologize affect (p24). …

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