·

·

The Anthropology of the Body


PealkiriThe Anthropology of the body / edited by John Blacking
IlmunudLondon [etc.] : Academic Press, 1977
Linkhttp://tartu.ester.ee/record=b2605117~S1*est
ViideBlacking, John (ed.) 1977. The Anthropology of the Body. London; New York; San Francisco: Academic Press.

This neat collection I found thanks to a reference in S. R. Portch. And it is lucky that I did as it was only lately labeled and added to the catalogue of the Sebeok collection. And consequently, it is one of only 126 books marked with the keyword "kehakeel" (body language) in Ester. Also, I have to remark that underneath that beautiful minimalist jacket lies a finely textured hardback cover which is a pleasure to behold in itself. I'm even sorry that Sebeok himself probably didn't read much of it, as the binding isn't even cracked. Still, I can only be thankful to Thomas for collecting books having to do with nonverbal communication; he has done Tartu semioticians a great service.
By the way, the editor (who wrote the following magnificent preface, has written a book about ethnomusicology titled How musical is man?
Many anthropologists since Taylor have been interested in the evolution of culture through the development of the power of mind, given the same human organism in a variety of historical and geographical environments. We now know a great deal more about the organism and its cognitive capacities, and we know that language can no longer be regarded as the most distinctly human characteristic or the prerequisite of conceptual thought. We are beginning to know more about the workings of the different hemispheres of the brain, and about the development and exploration of the body and the use and growth of intelligence, and between social experience and greative thought. We have a better idea of the species-specific capacities of the human organism, and know how much man depends on interaction with fellowman to develop them. Thus the processes and products of the human mind can usefully be seen as extensions of human bodies in community, in which the basic structures of relationships between parts are probably limited by the structures of the body, but the range of parts that can be related is inifinite. Since human bodies are the instruments that both discover and make decisions about self, others, and the world of nature and cultural tradition, the anthropology of the body is concerned with the interface between the body and society, the ways in which the physical organism constrains and inspires patterns of social interaction and the invention of culture. (Blacking 1977a: v)
This is like poetry, it is beautiful.
The significance of 'affectually oriented actions' has been recognized by Max Weber and other social theorists and it is often invoked by anthropologists in a rather vague way, but it has not been analysed in detail in studies that concentrate on the minutiae of social interaction. More attention should be given to states of the body and to how people feel, both in themselves and about others, when they make the decisions that affect patterns of social interaction, and when they relate to existing ideas or create new ones. This is not simply a matter of investigating the social consequences of sore heads and empty stomachs, or even of altered states of consciousness, but of considering the problem of feeling and emotion in human behaviour and action. Some somatic states can really 'blow the mind' and precipitate important new activities, and whether or not people 'take to' each other may be the most important factor in thier decision-making. (Blacking 1977a: vii)
John Blacking is so right on the money it's scary.
It is also necessary to distinguish analytically between human behaviour and human action, between motor events that happen to individuals and events that are intended to have consequences, as Ekman distinguishes between nonverbal phenomena that are less or more cultural, more 'in the body' or more 'in the mind'. Above all, I am convinced that we should look more carefully at language, the intellect, the mind, reason, and the other characteristics that are considered peculiarly human, as extensions of nonverbal communication, the senses, the body, and emotion, even when they appear to be wholly cultural. While conscious action may seem to be all-important at each moment of our lives, perhaps it is our adaptive behaviour, such as our feeling-responses, that is more important in the long run, and especially in the creation of the structures that outlive our momentary experiences (Blacking 1977a: viii)
This is by far the briefest and on the point explanation of the difference between "behaviour" and "action". Well done! And for my purposes, I can assume that the "structures that outlive our momentary experiences" could be texts (in the broad semiotic meaning of the term).
This introduction is useful in so many ways. One of them is that it hinted at a similar conference on nonverbal communication which was also published: J. Benthall & T. Polhemus (eds) 1975. The body as a medium of expression. London: Institute of Conteporary Arts.

Blacking, John 1977b. Towards an Anthropology of the Body. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 1-28.
It is through my body that I understand other people; just as it is through my body that I perceive 'things'. The meaning of a gesture thus 'understood' is not behind it, it is not intermingled with the structure of the world, outlined by the gesture, and which I take up on my own account. It is arrayed all over the gesture itself (Merleau-Ponty 162: 186).
It is, however, quite clear that constituent speech, as it operates in daily life, assumes that the decisive step of expression has been taken. Our view of man will remain superficial so long as wel fail to go back to that origin, so long as we fail to find, beneath the chatter of words, the primordial silence. The spoken word is a gesture, and its meaning, a world' (Merleau-Ponty 1962: 184. Quotations taken from Poole in Benthall and Polhemus 1965: 88 and 89)
What I mean by the anthropology of the body probably differs considerably from the meanings assigned by other contributors and by those who came to participate. BUt although I begin with quotations from Merleau-Ponty that sound phenomenological, and although ambiguous and divisive chatter may reinforce rather than clarify our differences, I hope there can be some consensus about the need to study the biological and affective foundations of our social construction of relaity, even if we cannot all agree that they are the proper concern of social anthropologists. (Blacking 1977b: 1)
This is f* awesome! Not because Merleau-Ponty's quotes: they are nice but do reinforce a phenomenological understanding of gesture which is not thoroughly non-verbal. But because Blacking so optimistically emphasizes the biological and affective foundations of the social construction of reality. It is as though he is an anthropologist who dares to grope topics much more relevant than what academic credo would hold appropriate. And I do enjoy thinkers who can express ideas that may clarify something for readers decades after. Here, that the body and emotions do play a significant role in "reality construction" (e.g. Berger and Luckmann). It is, in a sense, nonverbalistification of the construction of social reality.
Also, by studying cross-culturally the somatic states involved in human behaviour and action, we may be able to describe better the latent repertoire of the human body from which cultural transformations are ultimately derived. The topic merits further discussion if only because it has something to offer the growing number of scholars concerned with the study of interpersonal behaviour: anthropology provides a crucial testing-ground for their theories. (Blacking 1977b: 2)
Blacking continues to talk relentlessly perfect sense. Following this I can distinguish three types of repertory: latent, socio-cultural, and individual. There probably are better words for socio-cultural and individual too. Perhaps simply latent, social and personal?
Study of the quality of human feelings and of the structures of affect become a priority in an anthropology of the body. After extensive research into affect, Silvan Tomkins summarised the position in 1964:
(1) Affects are the primary motives of man; (2) affects are not private obscure internal intestinal responses but facial responses that communicate and motivate... (3) these communications are more often understood than misunderstood; (4) affects have profound effects on cognition and action, and conversely both cognition and action have profound effects on affect. Therefore the problem of measurement involves the measurement of both the awareness of affect by the observer and by the self and also the measurement of the impact of cognition and action on affect (Tomkins and Izard 1966: vii. Italics in original).
Social scientists frequently describe relationships in affective terminology, or tend to assume that the more often people associate the more they care for each other, but in all the literature on kinship, marriage and relgiion, there is very little precise information on falling in love in different cultures, on the feelings of spouses towards each other, or on people's experiences of ecstasy, transcendence, or joy in dancing. Feeling is the catalyst that transforms acquired knowledge into understanding, and so adds the dimension of commitment to action. It is the mediator between the body and what is generally called mind, because it provides the value that selects what shall be shared and conceptualized from what remains private sensation. The human mind is basically an expression of the feelings of the social body (social, in the biological rather than nominal sense). To say that such somatic states cannot be described, if only by analogy, is a council of defeat. (Blacking 1977b: 5)
This is in fact the fist quote by Silvan Tomkins I have come across, desite seeing references to him often. Izard on the other hand is already on this blogi with two pages of definitions on emotions from The Nonverbal Communication of Aggression. It seems that here Blacking is trying to place feeling somewhere, and finds a vacant spot between the mind and the body. That's a well known gap wherein you could place almost anything.
It cannot be assumed that somatic states necessarily remain entural until some social interpretation or value is assigned to them. Some somatic states may have intrinsic qualities that command attention, expand consciousness, and actually suggest their own interpretation. Altered states of consciousness are common experience for many oppressed peoples of the world, and very often these states seem to postpone rather than promote a positive response to the political situation. But some somatic states may also help a generalized collective consciousness to emerge, and from these feelings, rather than rational assessments of the perceived situations, a more specific class consciousness can develop and serve as the basis for political action. Similar situations may occur when poeople are affected by non-referential musical experiences: because music can create a world of virtual time in which things are no longer usbject to time and space, it can make people more aware fo feelings they have experienced, or partly experienced, and so restore the conditions of fellow-feeling, bodily awareness, educability and plasticity that are basic to the survival of the species. What needs to be known is whether it is the same kind of somatic staete that brings about these different results and to what extent its effectiveness depends on its cultural connotations and on variations in social situation. Or are there different kinds of somatic state? There is evidence that osme states involve both hemispheres of the brain, and particularly the right hemisphere. Perhaps when the left is cut out we have a state in which the individual becomes like an automaton, but where both hemisphere are working with equal energy we have a more enlightened, creative state. (Blacking 1977b: 6)
Here we have the problem of etching together strands of very different discourses. And although this can be done to great effect, it is very hard to read anything useful out of it. It poses more questions than it provides answers for. But I guess that's equally useful. E.g. "since one cannot expect an answer, the point is to analyse these questions" (Foucault 2009: 24).

In a good seminar, all present become very physically involved in the discussion and are uplifted and often surprised by the bright remarks that come out of their mouths. (Blacking 1977b: 7)
I wish this were so in our seminars.
Love is most rapturous when it transcends the obviously sexual, when genital arousal subsides and gives way to a more general awareness of the whole body, and bodies are carried away in a counterpoint of movement, of which actual coitus is but one phase. Similar somatic states seem to be induced by drink or drugs or fasting; but I think it would be more correct to say that such devices do not induce the state so much as help to suppress the cultural rules that have inhibited their natural expression. (Blacking 1977b: 7)
Damn, that is beautiful.
Clearly some social (or more often anti-social!) behaviour is idiosyncratic and may be brought on by somatic states ranging from a stomach-ache to an epileptic fit. Somatic idiosyncracies are the concern of an anthropology of the body only if they need be invoked to explain a person's action in a particular social situation, or if they are taken up by a socialk group as a part of its culture. An anthropology of the body must be concerned primarily with somatic states and capabilities that normal organisms can share, either by varieties of phylic communion or by social experience in a common culture. (Blacking 1977b: 13)
Thus Blacking makes room for individual/idiosyncratic forms of behaviour but only insofar as they are in some sense functional in a socium.
If the basic condition of human society is a generalized state of fellow-feeling that can be perceived through the sensations of individual organisms, nonverbal forms of interaction are fundamental. Kinesics and proxemics are concerned with microscopic aspects of human movement (see, for instance, Birdwhistell 1970 and Hall 1968), and demography and population genetics with the patterns of adaption of large social groups. An anthropology of the body is the meeting point of the micro and the macro: wherever possible, it must be able both to detach body movements from verbal association, and to specify the levels at which bodies respond consciously or unconsciously to the evolutionary relationship of the species and its environment at any given time or space.
Bateson has stressed that 'the discourse of nonverbal communication is precisely concerned with matters of relationship - love, hate, respect, fear, dependency, etc. - between self and vis-á-vis or between self and environment and... the nature of human society is such that falsification of this discourse rapidly becomes pathogenic' (Bateson 1973: 388). Culturally prescribed, word-based categories and systems of thought may conflict with information that comes from within the body, and so build up tensions in feeling-states that find expresison in behaviour and social action. (Blacking 1977b: 13-14)
Thus, micro and macro are connected via nonverbal communication. The wording "micriscopic aspects of human movement" is relevant as the closest I had to this was Foucault's "most detailed level of social life". Also, Bateson's statement about nonverbal communication being telling of relationship is clearly seen in Goffman, wherein it expresses one's relationship to oneself, others and the situation (context, environment, etc.).
Observation of the cultural forms of such states shows transformations of individual facial expression and body movement, and of the corporate movements in space and time of the bodies involved. 'Waves' of feeling are generated in the body and between bodies, not unlike sneezing and hiccought, and discrete sequences of tempo and pattern of movement can be discerned, analogous to the ebb and flow of a piece of music. Obviously the forms that the movements take are much affected by their cultural framework; but at the same time (and especially in situations of communal worship when people submit to the power of the spirit) a general pattern of interaction and movement emerges, which, though often related to cultural experience, is shaped from within the body and monitored by patterns of energy flow that transcends the actors' conscious attempts to manipulate the situation. In Natural Symbols [utlib], Mary Douglas has stated that 'communication depends on the use of symbols' (Douglas 1973: 29), and particularly the symbols of language, and that 'there can be' no 'organization without symbolic expression' (op.cit. :73). She has also argued that emption is not susceptible to discrete division. In the proto-ritual situations to which I have referred, there is a level of communication and organization that takes place without language and without symbols, and emotion is often expressed in contrasting patterns of movement that are susceptible to discrete division. That is, not all of the events are directly related to the shared cultural categories, and it ought to be possible to distinguish the particular forms the universal by cateful analysis of body movement. (Blacking 1977b: 14-15)
I know from secondary sources that Lévi-Strauss compared myth to music; in a similar matter I consider music to be the best available model for nonverbal communication, although I am yet unable to put this model to any good use. In this sense it makes perfect sense to regard highly the words of an ethnomusicologist on nonverbal communication.
Again, the values of a social system that might seep adaptive in the context of a particular culture could be biologiclaly non-adaptive, owing to faulty rationalizations of biosocial forces; the force of this contrast between real and rationalized values would generate conflict. As Maslow has argued, 'dichotomizing pathologizes (and pathology dichotomizes). Isolating to interrelated parts of a whole from each other, parts that need each other, parts that are truly "parts" and not wholes, distorts them both, sickens and contaminates them' (Maslow 1970: 13). When the 'mind' is artificially separated from the body, or thought is separated from the feelings and movements of the body that generate it, both parts suffer. Cultures are extensions and adaptions of feleings, and especially of fellow-feeling, that are universal to the species, and if the biological base of behaviour is ignored or misrepresented, laws of nature must inevitably override man's attempts to escape them. Many conflicts arise from inconsistencies between the social forces that bind human societies and man's inadequate cultural descriptions of social situations. (Blacking 1977b: 17)
This is why some have started to use a combinatory word "bodymind" to refer to the "whole" of human. And here I have to consider that when a fellow propounds that "consciousnes is the interaction of material and information" he is simply misguided in reducing all mind to information and body to material; even apart from neglecting energy in this Odiumian equasion (that actually applies to an ecosystem), he is viewing man as a machine. There is much benefit in systems theory but not when it is taken at face value and not modified to suit the purpose.
The fourth premise of an anthropology of the body is that the mind cannot be separated from the body. This is linked to the third premise, for it is in the areas of nonverbal communication, especially dancing and music, that we may observe mind at work through movements of bodies in space and time. (Blacking 1977b: 18)
Here we are approaching "embodiment" or thinking-through-the-body or being-in-the-body or body-and-mind-becoming-one or something to this effect.


Huxley, Francis 1977. The Body and the Play within the Play. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 29-38.
'Body' is one of those words whose meaning changes according to context. As its relation to 'butt' and 'bottle' implies, its basic meaning is that of a container, and as such it is often used to designate the whole physicla organism. It can also be used in a narrower sense to designate the trunk, as does the semantically similar term 'chest', so that we can then differentiate body from limbs, from tail and of course, from head. On another level it can refer to matter or substance, in contradiction to such terms as mind, life, soul and spirit, and so on. Such usages tell us that the word is to be understood in terms of a chimerical whole that is composed of different categorical realities - a difference sometimes expressed in the distinction between having a body and being one. (Huxley 1977: 29)
Useful analysis of the semantics involved.
...we still have to determine what is meant by 'self'. This can only refer to the tautologous function that brings the synechdoche to consciousness in the first place, as the etymology of 'self' makes clear: for it comes from a root that is at once reflexive, privative and possessive. It is also worth nothing that in structuralist parlance 'self' denotes the epistemic subject and not the existential one, whose role in constructing the dual concept of body cannot be separated from the body's physical performance in that construction. (Huxley 1977: 30)
This is a common notion: in Randviir's thesis, the "self" is not an ontological subject but a semiotic one.
Here again Piaget's work is of great importance, with his view of the sensi-motor system and its two functional factors: 'assimilation, the process whereby an action is actively reproduced and comes to incorporate new objects into itself... and accomodation, the process whereby the schemes of assimilation themselves become modified in being applied to a diversity of objects' (1973: 63) (Huxley 1977: 32)
I wonder if these functions are similar to Walter Benjamin's Erlebnis and Erfahrung.
Its florid and pathological aspects emerge in such hysterical disorders as echolalia and echopraxis, which cause the sufferer to imitate in full what is said or done before him without the possibility of stopping himself. (Huxley 1977: 32)
Mimicry does have a lot of names and different forms.
For a start, it is plain that his technique, of which I have been unable to find any further information, must be understood as obeying the rules of drama as set out by Aristotle in the Poetics. He defines all the human arts here as being imitations of an action, with Tragedy as the main examplar. This action, or praxis, can in turn be understood as an intentional impulse, not necessarily conscious, or what Cyrano de Bergerac (1965: 145) called 'the energetic idiom'. It calls for a particular scene in which to act itself out, which reflects it both in its symbolic furniture and in the roles taken up by the action. The principal actor or Agon then suffers his peripeteia, or the Reveral of his situation, which leads him to the stage of Recognition. In a Grammar of Motives (1962) Kenneth Burke has described this movement as going through the three stages of poiema, pathema, mathema: that is, doing, suffering and understanding. In the Poetics, this last stage is called 'theoria', a looking or view, from which word we also get 'theory' and 'theatre'. The conclusion is obvious, if facile: the theory of body symbolism can only be actualised when it has a theatre for its exposition. (Huxley 1977: 33)
As I haven't read Aristotle but have met bits of him here and there I find the relation to Jakobson's poetic function to be evident here, as well as the notion of praxis in Bauman's 1973 book. Poiema, pathema and mathema or doing, suffering and understanding weirdly describe the general narrative of the dystopic fiction I'm analysing: the protagonist starts to do something, suffers because of it and then comes to an understanding (and either accepts the theory of commits a suicide).
Drama has two principal modes in Europe, the comic and the tragic. The Cambridge school, comprising Frazer, Jane Harrison, Gilbert Murray and their followers, held that these originated in one coherent cyclical ritual. The comic mode has largely to do with sexual and mercantile topics: its actors are allowed to change roles in midstream, and the telos or the end of the drama is marriage. The tradic mode has to do with power, hierarchy and sacrifice, its Agon being destroyed by the role he occupies: its telos is death. There is good reason to believe that both had cosmic as well as social relevance, and that their purpose is to harmonise the incommensurable order of chance and choice. (Huxley 1977: 33)
Clearly, dystopic fiction is more akin to tragedy.


Ekman, Paul 1977. Biological and Cultural Contributions to Body and Facial Movement. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 39-84.
There is no agreed upon single name for the range of facial or bodily activities I will describe. Part of my purpose will be to suggest that thre should not be, for this is not one phenomenon but many. Terms such as nonverbal behaviour, nonverbal communication, kinesics, kinetics, expressive behaviour, body language, etc. have been used by one or another author to refer to some activity of the face and/or body. It has not always been clear whether actions which seem to have some instrumental purpose, such as pencil sharpening or push-ups, were included. If not then why did they include head scratching? Is the phenomenon restricted to movement or does it include static positions of body and face (postures)? If limited to movements, it has not always been clear whether those too fast or too small for visibility under normal circumstances have been included. No matter. While a single suitable term would be a boon when writing about the face and/or body, it could further confuse study of the phenomena, adding to the tendency to ignore or gloss over fundamental differences in what a person does with his face and body.
Some of those who study nonverbal behaviours (kinesics, expressive behaviours, etc.) have argued for an evolutionary perspective. They sought and found universals. Others, arguing for the utility of alinguistic model or the perspective of cultural relavitism, sought and found extraordinary differences among cultural groups. Both studied the nonverbal, but it is likely that each examined entirely different activities: activities which differ in origin (how the behaviour became part of the repertoire), in coding (the relationship between movement and what it signifies), and in the circumstances of usage. Perhaps because the phenomena are all the result of muscular action, or because vision is the means for perceiving these activities, or the camera the method of recording, investigators may have expected to find but one type of activity, just one principle of organization, just one type of function, just one major determinant. There are many.
I will describe the four activities we have studied most extensively: emblems, body manipulators, illustrators and emotional expressions. Evidence about each of these activities is summarized, including some findings previously not reported. My emphasis is upon the conceptual framework for interpreting these findings. A central issue will be extent of variation across cultures. This issue is central not just because this report is given at an anthropological meeting. Such a focus requires discussion of a problem which is the key to understanding and distinguishing among facial and body movements - to explain how biological and social factors have quite different influences upon emblems, body manipulators, illustrators and emotional expressions. (Ekman 1977: 39-40)
Well, head-scratching was most likely included because it occurs during conversations and interactions, while push-ups mostly do not.
We have employed Efron's (1941) term emblem to refer to symbolic actions where the movement has a very specific verbal meaning, known to most subscrubers to a sub-culture or culture, and typically is employed with the intention of sending a message. The head nods 'yes' and 'no' are examples of emblems. The person performing the emblem takes responsibility for having communicated, for having said something with his face or body. He can be held accountable for his message. The person who sees an emblem considers it ws performed for his benefit, to tell him something. not so with many other actions which nevertheless can be informative. The viewer may infer nervousness when observing a high incidence of body manipulator actions (e.g. scratching, rubbing, picking, etc.), but he will not consider these movements were performed to tell that to him. The knowledge gained from such body manipulator actions is stolen, the message provided by the emblem is given. The meaning of an emblem is not context free. Like words, emblems signify something rather precise, but the exact meaning and intepretation depends upon who is performing the emblem, to whom, in what conversational context, showing which other concomitant behaviours. (Ekman 1977: 40)
Emblems are intentional. This description reminded me a scene from Let's go to the prison wherein one main character signals with eyes towards another person to give the message "him". The other main character thinks this to be "for his benefit" and does what the situation calls for, thus creating trouble for him. Also, I find it interesting that auto- or self-manipulators have here become body manipulators; the self and the body is identified.

In New Guinea we found that there were emblems referring to sexual activity, menstruation and pregnancy utilized and known only by women. (Ekman 1977: 46)
Sounds very useful. Perhaps talking about such matters are prohibited by men because of the obvious discomfort.
Out studies suggest that people are usually not aware of engaging in these body manipulator actions. If you ask the person to repeat what he has just done, he often won't remember. There is little reason to expect that these movements are ever used deliberately to transmit a message to another, other than by an actor or perhaps a psychopath. (Ekman 1977: 47)
Ah, this reminded me of an episode I had lately in the TU main library. One evening I blatantly refused to give a cigarette to a strange russian guy who has bothered me before with asking a cigarette (I have decided not to share with people I don't know). The next day this same guy, bald and scary-looking, saw me in the library working with a book and gave me an evil stare. It was doubly discomforting as he went behind the shelf and returned on the other side, and kept staring at me for a second that lasted way too long. It was really unseddling as he looked and acted like a psychopath, potentially dangerous one. That is, when a person either has mastered nonverbal behaviours which shout evil, or performs these activities naturally, in either case something is very very wrong.
Certain types of body manipulators have specific meaning but not as precise as an emblem. We found that scratching occurred more often with patients judged by their psychiatrists to have problems with hostility. Eye covering occurred more often among patients judged to have guilt (Ekman & Friesen 1968, 1974a). (Ekman 1977: 48)
I would associate eye covering with either guilt or shame (guilt relating to moral wrong-doings, shame to matters of appearance). Scratching, though, is an odd thing. In a recent episode of Family Guy Quagmire was revealed to be bald and stopped wearing a wig after which he did become hostile and scratched his wrist when he was supposed to make a decision. I need to keep this scratching-hostility association in mind.
ILLUSTRATORS
These are movements which ar eintimately tied to the content and/or flow of speech. We distinguish a number of different types of illustrators in terms of how they relate to the simultaneous speech:
BatonsMovements which accent a particular word.
UnderlinersMovements which emphasize a phrase, clause, sentence or groups of sentences.
IdeographsMovements which sketch the path or direction of thought.
KinetographsMovements which depict a bodily action or a non-human action.
PictographsMovements which draw the shape of the referent in the air.
RhythmicsMovements which depict the rhythm or pacing of an event.
SpatialsMovements which depict a spatial relationship.
DeicticsMovements which point to the referent.
(Ekman 1977: 49)
Somehow I see these categories as useful for the game of Alias.
We distinguish five functions served by illustrators. A particular type of illustrator is used when a person cannot find a word. The movement looks as if the person is going to pluck the word out of the air; sometimes a finger-snapping movement is used instead. Such movements inform the other person that the speaker has not abandoned his turn, that he is intending to continue. This is a specific instance of the illustrator function of maintaining or increasing attention from the listener and holding the floor. Illustrators can help prevent or squelch interruptions, or capture lagging attention.
Word search illustrators draw out attention to a second function, self-priming. Waving an arm in the air or snapping the fingers might conceivably help the person find the word, although the mechanism which would explain such help is obscure. Cohen and Harrison (1973) suggested self-priming to explain why people sometimes illustrate when the listener isn't present (e.g. over the telephone). habit is an alternative explanation; but, let us grant self-priming of the speech-making process as a second possible function of illustrators.
A third function of illustrators is to explain through movement matters difficult to put in words. Pictographs or kinetographs can be helpful in giving directions about how to find a place, how to take something apart, in defining concpets such as zig-zag, helicopter, etc.
A fourth function of illustrators is the punctuation of speech, adding emphasis, underlining, tracing the flow of thought, to mark off clauses, etc. Presumably this helps the listneer understand what is said.
Although not a function in the same sense as the other four, it is worth noting that illustrators increase with enthusiasm and involvement in what is being said. They decreased when there is either disinterest in what is being said or with communicating at all, or when there is conflict about what to say and words are chosen with unusal care. Consistent with this interpretation we found neurotic depressives illustrated more than psychotic depressives, and both types of depressives illustrated less in the acute phase of their disorder than when in a state of remission (Ekman & Friesen 1974a). Among non-patients we have found that when persons were required to engage in deception about their feelings, when they were in conflict about what to say, illustrators decreased (Ekman, Friesen & Scherer 1976). (Ekman 1977: 50-51)
Apparently, when in 69 Ekman and Friesen said that they have done little work on regulators then they probably knew somewhat in advance that in later work they would lose this category and distribute it's functions among the other categories. E.g. snapping to hold the floor, to command attention etc.
Emblems differ from illustrators, however, in that they are often used in place of conversation or when conversaion is not possible or not chosen. Illustrators by definition are movements which must be placed within speech. A second difference between illustrators and emblems is in regard to the specificity of what is signified by the movement. Emblems have a precise meaning or a limited set of alternative meanings, each of which is precise. Certain types of illustrators (batons, underliners, ideographs) have no semantic content. Even those illustrators which have semantic conetnt (such is the kinetograph or pictograph) are more imprecise than the emblem, and their meaning is usually vague when seen without hearing the words they accompany. (Ekman 1977: 51)
I think the categories of illustrators might just as well describe different aspects of emblems, e.g. in a very systematic way one could invent a small-alphabet-language out of emblems with different illustrating properties. The army hand signals, for example.

EMOTIONAL EXPRESSIONS
These have received the most attention of all the nonverbal behaviours, and are the subject of continuing controversy. Most of the discussion hav been of facial movements (facial expressions), with less attention to body movement. At issue is whether there are universals in facial expressions or whether that which is signified by each facial movement varies from culture to culture. There have been persuasive but contradictory reports from the two sides: those claiming universals (e.g. Darwin 1872; Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1972; Izard 1971; Tomkins 1962) and those claiming cultural differences (Birdwhistell 1970; Klineberg 1940; LaBarre 1947; Leach 1972; Mead 1975).
The difference in what has been found may have been due in part to differences in what has been examined. Facial movements can be recruited into a variety of quite different activities. Earlier I described how facial movements can function as emblems (e.g. a wink), and as illustrators (e.g. movements serving as batons or underliners). Although not described here, we have distinguished (Ekman and Friesen 1969a) still another type of facial or bodily activity, called regulators, which serve to manage the back and forth flow of conversation between speaker and listener. Confusion might not occur if different facial movements were recruited into these quite different facial activities - emblems, illustrators, regulators and emotional expressions. Instead, some of the same facial movements appear in each. For example, the raising of the brows (frontalis muscle) can be employed in an emblem for greeting or an emblem for 'no'; a baton illustrator; a questionmark or exclamation point ergulator by the listener; a surprise emotional expression, (see Ekman & Friesen in prep. (a) for detailed description of this example). (Ekman 1977: 53)
So when need be, regulators can be recalled. In any case I'm surprised that the universalist-relativist controversie continued even til 1975; although it might have continued much further, I haven't gotten to the 90s yet, for example. I find extremely interesting the part about eyebrows and I think I could even use this list of different significations for my youtube video on "the case of the inactive brow." The in-preparation article Ekman is referring to might be "Complexities and Confusions in Facial Expressions of Emotion". A quick google search reveals that this article must have remained "in preparation" because this is the only mention of it. Also, this current article reappeared in The Body: Critical Concepts in Sociology alongside (right before) Marcel Mauss's "The Techniques of the Body".
A NEUROCULTURAL ACCOUNT OF EMOTION
The term 'neurocultural emphasizes our interest in both biological and social determinants of emotion. I will start with a characterization of emotional responses, both observable and nonobservable responses. This characterization will require that I hypothesize internal mechanism - an affective programme which directs emotional responses, and an appraisal system which determines when the affect programme becomes operative. Elicitors will be described as those events which are appraised quickly as the occasion for one or another emotion. Display rules for managing the appearance of the face in various social contexts, and efforts to cope with the source of emotion will also be described. This account will allow one answer to the question of what is emotion, and how we know when emotion is occurring. It will provide the basis for discussing pitfalls in cross-cultural research on emotion, for integrating seemingly contradictory findings, and for describing the many ways emotional expressions vary with culture.
This account of emotion, however, risks a good deal. It is too long, perhaps, for this paper, and certainly too short to be complete. It deals with nonobservables reaching beyond data to explanatory mechanisms which may help in understanding the data. It may seem wrong, misguided, mechanistic, full of jargon, etc. Nevertheless, it should provide the terms anr raise the issues for exposing the variety of points for possible disagreement which have too long laid hidden. (Ekman 1977: 55)
Ekman is on the following 10 pages going to make an exposé of his improved (since 1969a) neurocultural account of emotion. As I know this to be the best (at least the most comprehensive) explanation of emotional expression, I will go through the trouble of typing most of it:
[55] Emotional response are brief, often quick, complex, organized and difficult to control. Let us consider each of these characteristics. Emotions can be very brief. It is not uncommon to be angry or afraid or happy for only a few seconds. [56] Surprise is always brief, while the other emotions vary in duration depending upon the circumstances. If any emotion lasts for many hours, or days, the language of everyday life would utilized mood terms rather than those of an emotion. The person is said to be irritable or hostile, not just angry; blue, not just sad, etc. A full discussion of the difference between mood and emotion would take us far afield, yet there is probably some merit in the notion that typically emotions have fairly brief durations, shorter than moods, attitudes, traits, or many beliefs or values.
Quickness refers just to the onset of an emotion. Emotions can become aroused in a fraciton of a second. Not that they always must be aroused so quickly, but as will become apparent later, the potential for speed in onset time, for a very quick response, is important in explaining and distinguishing emotional from other kinds of behaviour.
Emotion is complex, entailing a number of different response systems. Only some of them can be directly observed. There are skeletal muscle responses such as flinching, thrusting forward, turning away, overall relaxation, etc. Facial responses include the expression I will describe in detail later, as well as vascular and muscle tonus changes. Vocal responses include sounds such as screams or groans, as well s a tensing of the vocal apparatus, with the consequent changes in voice quality. These are all likely to be very quick, initial responses. Somewhat longer and more elaborate are the coping behaviours directed at whatever has set off the emotion. Included would be fighting, fleeting, denying, apologizing, etc. Specific changes in the autonomic and central nervous system are also involved, in ways I will not detail here.
The subjective experience of the emotion, usually neglected by modern psychology, is another important emotion response system. The subjective experience includes - but may not be limited to - sensations which are the result of feedback from changes occuring in the already named response systems. Also included are memories, images and expectations associated with one or another emotion, and with the very specific circumstances of the occasion for an emotion. One important characteristic of the subjective experience of emotion is the awareness that the changes occurring are not easy to control consciously. I will return to this point later.
The various response systems mentioned are organized in two ways. The activity in each response system is interrelated rather than independent. And the changes occurring within each (or most) response systems are distinctive for one as compared to another emotion. In a preliminary study we (Ekman, Malmstrom & Friedsen 1971) found different patterns of heart rate [57] acceleration and deceleration to occur simultaneously with different patterns of facial movement. This study showed organization within each response system and in the interrelationship between response systems. Admittedly, there is little evidence one way or another for such interrelationships among all the response systems we propose. And the evidence for distinctive patterns for each emotion is presently limited to facial expression.
Affect Programme. For there to be such complexity and organization in various response systems, there must be some central direction. The term 'affective programme' refers to a mechanism which stores the patterns for these complex organized responses, and which when set off directs their occurrence. I am not concerned with where in the brain this programme is located. (Lower areas must be involved, but I do not presume either a single location or involvement of only one neural mechanism.) Instead, I will describe what is assumed about how such an affect programme must operate.
The organization of response systems dictated by the affect programme has a genetic basis but is influenced also by experience. The skeletal, facial, vocal, autonomic and central nervous system changes which occur initially and quickly for one or another emotion, we presume to be in largest part given, not acquired. For example, habits would be unlikely to determine just which pattern of impulses are transmitted to the facial nerve, although we will later describe how habits, what we term display rules, develop to interfere with the operation of these responses dictated by the affect programme. Experience, of course, plays an important role. The emotional response systems change with growth, disease, injury, etc. They are not constant through life.
Through experience, with sufficient time and learning, habits become established for how to cope with each emotion. I do not believe that such coping behaviours are part of the given affect programme. These habitual ways of coping may become so well learned that they operate automatically and quickly in conjunction with specific emotions. Given our lack of knowledge about the operation of the central nervous system, it matters little whether I say that those habitual ways of coping become governed by the affect programme, or that they operate automatically in conjunction with it. Memories, images, expectations associated with one or another emotion are, like coping, not given but acquired, and can similarly become habitual, automatically involved when the affect programme is set off.
Thus, I postulate that when the affect programme is set off, a number of other things happen in addition to the responses immediately governed by the programme. Memories, images, [58] and expectations associated with the emotion and the circumstance come into play. Coping behaviours associated with the emotion begin, and habits directed at managing emotional behaviour may become operative. All these related cvhanges can occur automatically with great speed, rather than deliberately.
Management of the responses governed by the affect programme is usually not easy and not always entirely successful. Some of the responses under the command of the affect programme begin to change in fractions of a second. Deliberate or habitual interference is more successful with some of the emotional responses governed by the affect programme than with others. For example, it is far easier to inhibit or squelch a facial movement than to change respiration or heart rate. The difficulty experienced when trying to interfere with the operation of the affect programme, the speed of its operation, its capability to initiate responses that are hard to halt voluntarily, is what is meant by out-of-control quality to the subjective experiences of some emotions.
I have been working backwards in time. I started with the description of the brevity, complexity and organization of emotional responses. Then I described an affect programme which directs those responses. Now I must take a further step back, to consider what happens to call the affect programme into operation. There must be an appraiser mechanism which selectively attends to those stimuli (external or internal) which are the occasion for activating the affect programme. Otherwise the complex organized emotional response directed by the affect programme would occur randomly. Since the interval between stimulus and emotional response is sometimes extraordinarily short, the appraisal mechanism must be capable of operating with great speed. Often the appraisal is not only quick but it happens without awareness, so I must postulate that the appraisal mechanism is able to operate automatically.
Automatic appraisal mechanism. It must be constructed so that it quickly attends to some stimuli, determining not only that they pertain to emotion, but to which emotion, and then activating the appropriate part of the affect programme. The automatic appraisal may not only set off the affect programme and the responses it directs, but it may initiate also the processes which evoke the memories, images, expectations, coping behaviours and display rules relevant to the emotion.
Appraisal is not always automatic. Sometimes the evaluation of what is happening is slow, deliberate and conscious. With such a more extended appraisal there may be some autonomic arousal, but perhaps not of a kind which is differentiated. The person could be said to be aroused or alerted, but no specific emotion is operative. Cognition plays the important role [59] in determining what will transpire. During such extended appraisal the evaluation may match to the selective filters of the automatic appraiser, and the affect programme may be set off. It need not be, however; the experince may be diffuse rather than specific to one emotion. I suspect that if the emotion is not specific, if the affect programme is never involved, there are limits to how intense the more general emotion arousal state may become.
When automatic appraiser responds to a stimulus, sets off the affect programme which directs a particular complex, organized set of emotional responses, appraisal does not necessarily stop. The event may continue to unfold, new stimuli may be emitted which again are subject to automatic appraisal &rarrow; affect programme &rarrow; emotional responses. The same emotion may be repeatedly triggered, or a number of different emotions may be triggered sequentially or simultaneously. If the event does not continue to unfold, as in a near miss car accident, the person will usually realize and consider what has happened. He may realize there was no 'need' to have become emotional and struggle to stop the operation of the affect programme. Or, the realization of having had an emotional response may itself become the occasion for another emotional response. For example, responding to a criticism immediately and automatically with anger once realized may be the elicitor for shame or disgust with oneself. Or, the situation may become ambiguous and the extended appraisal system may work in trying to figure out what is happening and going to happen next.
Elicitors. One further step backwards leads to the elicitors of emotion, what characterizes the events appraised as emotional. There is variation in the particulars of what elicits a given emotion, yet there are also common features in what are identified as elicitors for an emotion. We use the term elicitor to refer only to those stimuli which are identified by the automatic appraiser as specific for one or another emotion. Elicitors call forth emotion quickly, but what occurs is not a reflex arc. The connection between specific stimulus and response is not given, and it is not fixed. Probably there is no emotion for which there is a universal elicitor, uniform in its specific details, which always call forth the same uninterruptable set of emotional responses. Certainly there is no empirical evidence of such. One possibility would be that the sight of a missile travelling directly towards the eye at a given speed would be automatically appraised so as to set off the fear affect programme. Even here interference or interruption of the fear response is probably possible. At best there would be only few if any such innately wired elicitors.
People learn how to recognize impending harm, to avoid danger. While the specific stimuli so identified as potentially harmful will vary, fear elicitors share the characteristic of portending harm or pain. One of the common characteristics of some of the elicitors of happiness is release from accumulation pressure, tension, discomfort, etc. Loss os something to which one is intimately attached might be a common characteristic of sadness elicitors. Interference with ongoing activitiy might be characteristic of some anger elicitors. (Ekman 1977: 60)
This might as well serve as an operationa definition of happiness.
We coined the phrase display rule to refer to the conventions, norms, and habits that develop regarding the management of emotional responses. A display rule specifies who can show what emotion to whom, when. These rules are often learned to well that they typically operate automatically, noticeable only in the breach. For example, the prohibition against showing anger, or the rule to substitute sadness for anger, is learned so well by middle-class American girls, that later if liberated it requires some sturggle to'get their anger out'. Other display rules are learned more by example, by observing what others do or following implicit instructions of those who manage events when emotion is made the occasion for public ceremony. The performance for such display rules may not be as good, but errors are usually overlooked. An example of this type of display rule is that at beauty contests a winner may cry but not the losers. At funerals, one can note almost a 'pecking order' of grief expressions based on the rights to mourn. A man's secretary cannot look sadder than his wife unless she intends to state something quite different about the true nature of their relationship.
There are also personal rules, habits learned about managing emotional expressions which do not reflect a cultural norm, but more individualized experiences. The extent to which one follows a cultural display rule may depend upon the extent to which it conflicts with a personal display rule. For example, a woman may have the personal display rule never to show her feelings of distress, which depending upon her culture, could put her in conflict in the mourning situation if just such expressions are required by the widow.
The management of emotional responses may occur also by deliberate choice of the moment, for a particular advantage, rather than as part of a long standing personal or cultural display rule. Then the person is more aware of what he does and is likely to be rather slow and inept. (Ekman 1977: 62-63)
Here display rules are starting to feel like Garfinkel's "tacit rules" (because both are only noticeable in the breach). Also, I had thus far overlooked personal rules.
The biological contribution may be extensive, involving an innate association between muscle movements and emotion, or more modestly biology may only predispose the organism to acquire these associations through common learning experiences. Species constant learning as the explanation for universals in emotional expression was suggested by Allport (1924). Let us consider the example of the raised brow (inner and outer strands of the frontalis muscle) in surprise. All other biology may contribute unexpected events in which they would raise their brow to see what is happening above them. (One could even argue that the unexpected is more likely to be above than below the infant.) Over time, perhaps abetted by the signal value of the movement, brow raising and surprise would become associated. In the strictest version of this explanation the infant would have to learn, presumably by trial and error, that brow raising increases his visual field. Alternatively that might be given, and what he learns is to make this movement when trying to see what has unexpectedly happened. To grant even more to biology, the infant could be born equipped to raise his brows when visually scanning unexpected sudden visual events. What he needs to learn is to generalize this response to any unexpected event, regardless of whether it is visual. The more extreme innate explanation would be that a consequence of evolutionary processes, humans are constructed so that brow raising is built into the affect programme for elicitors automatically appraised as pertaining to surprise. (Ekman 1977: 66)
#brows, #nonverbal learning
still a third reason for partial facial expressions is the possibility that when emotion is felt only slightly it may register in only some muscle groups rather than across the entire face. There is as yet no evidence whether this is so. If it is, we do not know whether slight versions of an emotion tend to recruit consistently the same muscles. For example, in slight fear would it be the frontalis and corrugator affecting the brow, or the risorius and platysma affecting the cheek and mouth, or the upper eyelid levator, which would most likely act? Are there consistencies for a given person across such slight fear experiences, across persons within a social grouping, across groupings within a culture, etc.
Cultural differences in facial expressions of emotion may also be apparent in the most common blends of emotion. A blend is a compound facial expression in which the muscular actions for two or more emotions combine in a single facial expression. Blends sometimes occur because the elicitor calls forth more than one emotion. For example, a surprising event may be also frightening, or the surprising event may be pleasing. Blends also happen because of habits that associate one emotion with another. One such habit is affect-about-affect; for example, one person may always feel disgusted with himself when he feels anger, another may habitually feel afraid of his own anger. Another type of habit relating affects is mixture of two feelings towards a class of elicitors; for example, one person may habitually feel disgusted by what makes him angry, another may habitually feel afraid of whatever makes him angry. Due to either type of habit a single elicitor of anger may result in one person showing an anger/disgust blend, while another shows an anger/fear blend. These habits associating two emotions may become established through individually idiosyncratic learning, or through learning experiences common among some social groups. (Ekman 1977: 71-72)
More #brows. Blends, explained.
Another aspect of timing has to be with the sequence of muscular actions during onset or offset. Take the example of raising the brows (frontalis), drawing them together (corrugator), and raising of the upper eyelid (levator palpebralis superioris) in a partial fear expression. Does frontalis always start before corrugator or vice versa? Or does it depend upon the person, the specifics of the elicitor etc.? We suspect that there is probably some biological constribution to timing, both to onset, minimal apex, offset, and sequencing, but that as with morphology the biological contributions is modifiable by experience. It is only now that precise methods for measuring facial movement have been developed that these questions about timing can begin to be explained. (Ekman 1977: 75-76)
And more #brows. Probably because Ekman had just lately written a comprehensive piece about eyebrow movements.
There are prolems with all the terms to refer to the study of facial and body movement:
Nonverbal behaviour: that implies that what distinguishes the phenomenon is that it isn't words, and that is not necessarily what motivates much of the interest or theory; further, it is strange to use a term that defines a phenomenon by what it is not.
Motor behaviour: that implies an interest in skills.
Kinesics: that is identified with but one theoretical and methodological viewpoint (Birdwhistell 1970).
Expressive behaviour: that term implies the action is a manifestation of some internal affective state or personality characteristic, which is probably appropriate for only some facial or body movements.
Visually observable behaviour: awkward and odd to define a range of phenomena by how they are sensed by the observer.
See discussion of terminology by Sebeok (in press) and Ekman 1977. (Ekman 1977: 77)
The negative definition is indeed curious, but I am okay with it. As long as it isn't associated with anything else. Once a person misheard "nonviolent communication" and lost all interest in my presentation, although it had nothing to do with what he had in mind.
Although using different terms to describe the activity a number of other investigators have also found that body manipulators are related to negative affect (Freedman & Hoffman 1967; Knapp, Hart & Dennis 1974; Mahl 1968; Mehrabian 1971; Rosenfeld 1966). In his most recent, but unpublished work, Freedman claims body manipulators are not a discomfort sign, but instead are self-stimulation required by difficulty in articulation and information processing.
Consistent with this formulation, Schegeloff (1976) has sugested that body manipulators may occur during what he and Sachs term conversational 'repairs'. These are points in conversation where some attempt is being made to prevent disagreements from crystallizing, and discomfort would be expected. (Ekman 1977: 78)
A valuable insight, although conventional interpretation could twist this: body manipulation due to difficulty in articulation and information process is a sign of discomfort. The implication in this formulation being that difficulties in articulation and information processes are caused by some form of discomfort - even in the broad sense that comfortable topics and well-thought-out stuff procuses less difficulties in articulation and information processing.


Polunin, Ivan 1977. The Body as an Indicator of Health and Disease. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 85-98.
It is obvious that the body provides information on its state of health or disease, which is perceptible to others. With the development of modern technology, our ability to 'read the body' is generally improving, even though there is an erosion of skills in applying simple methods where these have largely been supplemented by technical methods.
However, there still are inescapable difficulties in determining the state of health of the body. Though people have traditionally been divided into two mutually exclusive operational categories, the healthy (who need no remedy) and the sick (who do), we cannot confidently ascribe everybody to one of these categories. (Polunin 1977: 85)
The first part is reminiscent of the work of bioanalysts who may know little about actual medical practice but work laboratory technology and process various results. Some complain that medicine loses touch of actual people, and is more concerned with specific tissues (blood, phlegm, sperm, etc.). Secondly, it is indeed difficult to differentiate health and non-health today as there are many in-between forms.
Morbid signs may be so common that they may be thought of as normal. For this reason, it has been said of trachoma in some West Asian countries that the mild chronic conjunctivitis it produces was not considered a sign of disease. Until recently smoker's cough was thought of as a direct effect of exposure to smoke rather than a sign of disease, while chronic insidious industrial diseases tended to be considered as the expected results of work rather than as disease. The pustule which follows vaccination is thought of as a preventive measure rather than an infective lesion. The context in which a sign is shown is important, especially in mental disease, where the signs are largely behavioural. What is considered 'normal behaviour' shows wide variations in different cultures; so mental illness is revealed by what is considered deviation from normal human behaviour in a particular cultural context. The question of context also arises with physical signs. To take a very obvious example, severe breathlessness after mild exertion is taken as evidence of disease, while severe breathlessness after severe exertion is considered normal. (Polunin 1977: 87)
Context - that important aspect so often even today ignored.
In modern medicine it has long been the custom to divide disease manifestations into symptoms and signs. Thus we have standard books with titles like Symptoms and Signs in Clinical Medicine (Chamberlain and Ogilvie 1974) [utlib] and Signs and Symptoms (MacBryde and Blacklow 1970) [utlib]. Symptoms are morbid manifestations of which the sufferer is aware, while signs are morbid manifestations which can be perceived by an observer. Usually symptoms and signs occur together, but either may occur in the absence of the other. Feinstein (1967) has pointed out that some abnormalities are both signs and symptom. Some signs can be recognized by observation alone, while others (iatric signs) need to be elicited by a special means of examination. We could speak of the symptoms and signs of health as of those of disease. (Polunin 1977: 87-88)
Thus when the doctor asks, "What are the symptoms?" the patient can enlist the signs he is aware of.
Opportunities for the perception of signs of disease are often limited under ordinary social circumstances, particularly if clothes hide much of the body. Conditions for observation within family or peer group may be better, particularly if there is responsibility for determining whether a person should receive special care. In the medical examination there is usually a relaxation of rules of ordinary behaviour to promote diagnosis. Thus the modern physician examines for signs of disease not only by inspection (in a good light), but by palpation, percussion and auscultation, with the help of a few instruments. (Polunin 1977: 90)
There could be much written about the significance of human touch in palpation practices.
It is a useful source of physical signs, as it demonstrates the functional competence of all bodily systems used in speech. The quality of the voice depends on the condition of nose, throat and larynx and their neuromuscular control system, while the words used may indicate abnormal intellectual processes. Speech is a good indicator of the speaker's state of vigour or fatigue. The timbre of the voice is probably the most sensitive indicator we have of a person's emotional state, and it can have a powerful effect on a listener. (Polunin 1977: 90)
I am not a fan of paralanguage, but I do feel the need to start training my own vocal apparatus at some point.
Can we think of disease manifestations as adaptions to pathogenic circumstances with a communicative function? One of the definitions of function given by the shorter Oxford Dictionary (1933) is 'the special kind of activity proper to anything, the mode of action by which it performs its purpose'. Function in biology, as opposed to mere activity, might be considered to exist where a significant advantage accrues from a structure or an activity over a significant period of evolutionary history, or where it can be shown that genes responsible for the structure or activity have been subjected to significant positive selection. (Polunin 1977: 91)
This is actually a quite common definition of function and can be applies to persons; e.g., "what is your function in this organization?"
The sensory system generates information about the surroundings and about the individual himself, which is important in determining adaptive behaviours. The pain system is undoubtedly important in protecting the body from damage. As an indicator of certain sorts of insult and damage to tissues, it is potent in forcing the individual to behave in such a way as to avoid or minimise pain, and hence damage. Serious damage can occur to parts of the body which have become insensitive to pain from disease, injury or local anaesthesia, and severe and fatal effects can be suffered by people with congenital insensitivity to pain (Sternbach 1968). Pain also has a training function as a kind of negative reward whereby the individual learns to avoid painful stimuli.
Though a symptom, pain can influence behaviour in recognizable ways which become signs of pain. Thus, crying out or screaming are types of response to sudden or severe pain which may warn others of damage and danger. Darwin (1872) pointed out that certain mute species vocalize only in the extremity of suffering, and suggested that vocal communication evolved from such vocalizations. (Polunin 1977: 91)
A valid point against those who argue that pain is pointless in modern society.
Pain is minimized by immobility, which can give rise to the appearance of paralysis (pseudoparalysis) in the absence of any interference with the sensimotor neural pathways. A posture in which pain is minimum tends to be adopted. Thus the injured or infected hand tends to be immobilized by the sufferer in a neutral position, in which all tendons, ligaments and muscles are moderately relaxed. Pain is least in this position, and adoption of this 'position of function' has the advantage that in the event of a permanent restriction of mobility, the loss of function is least. (Polunin 1977: 91)
This is reminiscent of may scenes in movies or in sculpture where the wounded bodypart lies inactively on the ground.
Some individuals with more need of support than the culture will allow them when healthy, may thus find in 'pain' a suitable means for fulfillment of deeply felt needs, which bring greater rewards than freedom from pain. Pain from wounds of battle may then actually be far more acceptable than the sustained anxiety and fear induced by battle conditions, i.e. 'combat fatigue', and this can lead to self-inflicted wounds. (Polunin 1977: 94)
Wiki says that this is also known as Combat stress reaction. Some related books: Shell-shock : a history of the changing attitudes to war neurosis / by Anthony Babington on combat fatigue (200 pages); and Fatigue and boredom in repetitive work on "routine fatigue" (80 pages).


Strathern, Andrew 1977. Why is Shame on the Skin?. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 99-110.
The women who sang the song were exposed to collective scrutiny of groups in the surrounding community. The skin, their outer self, is the immediate point of contact with the physicla world outside them and can also conveniently symbolise the point of contact between themselves and the social forces that surround them. The feeling of 'shame', to which they refer, has both a psychological and a social reference. When persons feel 'shame' in Hagen, they say, their skin breaks out in a sweat (kur ropa etim, which can produce either a hot or a cold sensation, or a combination of these. Similarly English people often say that when they are embarrassed or ashamed, they blush. In both cases the internal feeling triggers off an external sign which is 'on the skin' in a direct physiological sense. However, explanations given to me in Hagen about 'shame on the skin' tended to stress the notion that 'shame' has to do with the individual's reaction to his community relationships. This, of course, is like the classic characterization of 'shame-cultures' which has been delineated for Melanesian cases by Hogbin and others. (See, for example, Hogbin 1963:76, where he speaks of 'maya, described as the discomfort a person feels when he has been found out in an unworthy act', and adds 'I shall translate the word as "shame"'.) This composite, folk-cum-analytical explanation does not cover the whole range of usage for pipal (see below), but it does appear to apply well in those cases where people stress that the 'shame' which they felt is 'on the skin'.
I put the question which is posed in the title of this paper to Ongka, a leader of a particular group (Kawelka Ngglammbo subclan) in Mount Hagen. First, I asked him to describe various different kinds of pipil, and he told me as follows (from notes made at the time, not from a tape-recording):
If we stand up in public snad say something, then someone challenges us and says we are wrong and we realize that they are are right and that other people are watching us and can see this too, then we are a bit ashamed about this, it is a pipil kel, 'small shame'.
Another pipil, and this is a bigger one, is if a man who is really a rubbish man with no resources, dresses up and goes to a distant place. There he says he is a big-man, and people believe him and give him many things. He brings these home and he hands them out again to people. Later, his creditors come to visit him and they see that in fact he has nothing. They tell him that they are going to sleep in his houseuntil he finds something for them. He doesn't know what to do, he pretends he is sick, he goes off and hides, and he suffers a pipil mam, a 'big shame'.
Another kind of 'big shame' happens when we think there is no-one around and we defecate or urinate by the pathway or road, then someone comes and sees us there, we look up and see them watching us, that makes us very ashamed and we say 'Oh, have they come to kill and eat me? Shall I go and hang myself?' We hide our head in our hands. [By custom, if a man sees a woman urinating or defecating like this, he may ask to have intercourse with her, to 'finish the shame'.]
(Strathern 1977: 101-102)
Losing an argument is a small shame. Cheating people and aquiring stuff by false self-presentation and getting caught is a big shame. The bit about "finishing the shame" makes sense insofar as I have wondered why it is so that women wondering into the men's bathroom is a small ocurrence, but a man walking into a woman's bathroom incites screams of terror.
I then asked directly why Ongka had spoken of some kinds of pipil as being on the skin, and he replied:
It is when people see us, it is not that there is anything inside (mel ti rukrung pei na petem) it is outside (ekit oronga) only, it is when people see us doing these things that we feel pipil, when they see our skin, and we feel pipil on the skin.
All sensible people, he added, feel this pipil. If someone does not, his relatives will tell him 'you have no shame on your skin, you are crazy (kupórl roron). People have shame on their skin, but you have none. If you had a soul (min) as other people have, it would have given you a good social attitude (noman kae, the noman is thought to be inside a person's chest and to guide his thoughts, feelings, and actions). BUt you have no min, and so you do not feel shame.' He explained further that a man who does not feel shame lacks a true noman because the min in him has been lured out by a wild spirit (kor rakra) which lives beside streams. The spirit steals the person's min and feeds it and talks to it, so the person becomes crazy and doesn't behave normally.
(Strathern 1977: 103-104)
This is very much like what Goffman talks about in his article On Face-Work: shame is on the skin (the "face") and not feeling any shame or being without a min is being "faceless".
In his exegesis Ongka took the discussion one step further than this kind of listing of interconnected clusters of meaning. After stating that pipil is on the outside only, he contrasted it with sickness. People do not get sick because of shame on their skin, he said: sickness comes from inside, just as does popokl (anger or frustration). 'When we are popokl about something we hide it, we keep it to ourselves and don't tell people. We preserve a good exterior. With pipil, on the other hand, we admit it to the outside world, we say that we are pipil and ask them not to be hard on us, but inside ourselves we may be feeling quite good, and when we go off by ourselves we feel all right; it is only when other people are there that we actually feel ashamed about it.'
Ongka's formulation here is consistent with a view that 'shame' can be regarded as a kind of social 'cosmetic', a means of dressing up one's behaviour so as to appease others and forestall their anger. Possibly, indeed, an interactional paradigm can be set up, in which we see that 'shame' behaviour is a means of averting the 'anger' of others, and conversely 'anger' may be a means of creating 'shame' in others, so that they will take notice of one and be sorry for what they have done. This could be so in cases where an aggrieved person communicates the fact that he is popokl to the person he thinks has done him wrong. (Strathern 1977: 105)
The complex relationship of shame and anger.


Lewis, Gilbert 1977. Fear of Sorcery and the Problem of Death by Suggestion. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 111-144.
But as for evil sorcery, no man ever admitted to me that he could do it, and no man, except one on one occasion, ever said to me that he would in any circumstance be prepared even to try to learn it. The evil sorcery is called sangguma in Pidgin. Sangguma sorcery is sorcery in the strict sense: no one openly admits to knowing it or practicing it; it inspires horror; it provides the bogeyman for small children; it is fered, reviled and despised. Its use is always antisocial and essentially illegitimate. In contrast to destructive magic, people cannot conceive of its use being justified. The distinction between destructive magic and evil sorcery is conveyed by the way Gnau use Pidgin: it is the distinction between poisin and sangguma. In the Gnau language, sangguma sorceries have substantive names: langgasutap, minmin. The verbs relate the sorcery to its victim and not the sorcerer to his victim as, for example, in these expressions: Langassutap manem - "sangguma struck him"; Minmin watewunpen - "minmin hangs up on him". (Lewis 1977: 113)
This made me wonder if nonverbalism is (a modern) evil sorcery? The description does have some points of contact: people fear that extensive knowledge of body language may make a person able to read their innermost thoughts. It inspires horror in grown-ups.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF FEAR
But what can we know of fear? English is rich in words clustered around the emotion: horror, dread, terror, fright, fear, trepidation, alarm, consternation, anxiety, apprehension, concern, panic, frantic, scared, startled, agitated. The differences among these reactions to perceived present or future danger, have to do with:
  1. The severity of the emotion (shattering terror, mild doubt, diffuse perturbation);
  2. its relation to the future (distress of the moment, immediately impending threat, distant possibility);
  3. the definition of its object (fear referred to some external definite distinct object or situation, anxiety to a trouble or agitation not so linked to something precise and known and definite, its object vague and uncertain);
  4. the timing and duration of the emotion - enduring or transitory, chronic or acute, it may be an abiding or recurrent state; its onset sudden or insidious.
These are all aspects of fear at the level of conscious awareness. Though chiefly turned to the future, as fear must always be, it rests on past experience, and it reverts to the past to account for the troubles in store. Herein as with rationalization, and some other psychological devices, there is evident a strong desire to make things understandable in a causal nexus. The individual's expression varies with the strenght of his fear and his estimation of his helplessness or his ability to counteract the threat. The observer is concerned with whether the threat is either not recognizable or is, by reasonable standards, quite out of proportion to the emotion it seemingly evokes, needless anxiety.
There are, of course, also the manifest bodily disturbances of fear.
Some of these are functions normally under voluntary control (e.g. running in panic, agitation, screaming, sudden defecation); other are functions not wholly or at all under voluntary control. Of these phenomena there are many varieties, e.g. dryness of the mouth, sweating, horripilation, tremour, vomiting, palpilation, giddiness, abdominal pain; and other physiological and biochemical, that can be detected with appropriate methods of investigation... There are subjectie bodily discomforts during the period of fear. The sense of constriction in the chest, tightness in the throat, difficulty in breathing, and weakness in the legs are conspicuous; there are others mostly representing the subjective side of what is also objectively manifest. (Lewis 1967: 120).
These bodily manifestations are signs or symptoms of the neuroendocrine and motor-visceral aspects of the emotion. The emotional state has the subjectively experienced quality of fear or a closely related emotion. It is unpleasant. Its characteristics may be inferred from a person's demeanour and conduct even though he says nothing about what he is feeling, but for the most part the observer will need to be told about the feelings of the person if he is to assess the other's state satisfactorily. (Lewis 1977: 116-117)
Thus far the best explication of aspects related to fear.
The ability to recognize mood and emotion in other people underlies the anthropologist's grasp of many situations. Sometimes it is important. It is most often unstated and unanalysed. It is hard to account for the precision and immediacy of one's response. A man died a long and agonsing illness in the village in which I lived. The whole village gathered. They poured out grief, crying and wailing for a whole night. At dawn the next day, they waited for some clan relatives to come. They waited until noon. From noon, some were pressing to get on and bury him before the corpse began to rot and stink. His two elder brother's sons went into the hut with the body to make it ready for burial. I knew them both well. After a while, one went past the place where I was sitting with other people. I saw him for 4 or 5 seconds as he passed going straight to the men's house. His face was set, he was a little pale, his gaze fixed on the ground, there was something of a hurry and tension in his walk. I may have noticed he had something in his hand, but I am not sure. The quickness, the set face, the fixed gaze, gave me the sense that he was getting away from something unpleasant and shocking. Immediately I guessed specifically that he had just had to do something that I had heard of as a possibility, but which had not happened so far in my stay. I guessed he must have just before cut off the eyebrows, eyelashes, axillary hair and head hair of the corpse, and therefore must intend t divine the cause of the death by a particular method aimed to find out about corcery. An hour or two later, I asked him if he had done that and he said he had not. But he lied. I think I can identify the reason why. Some time after the divination he told me that I had been right. (Lewis 1977: 118)
An awesome example of anthropological nonverbalism.
In the descriptions I have given, there is little of the signs or symptoms of acute fear. Instead of tension and agitation, of preparedness to fight or flee, the behaviour appears rather that of someone doomstruck, shattered, apathetic, hope given up, passive. It is more like the behaviour of despair, depression or shock. (Lewis 1977: 127)
Words for describing dysphoria in dystopias.
The terms 'psychosomatic medicine' and 'psychosomatic disorders' have come back into general use. They were initially introduced to stress that the conceptual separation of mind and body in medicine is not only unreal but also unfruitful in certain conditions (for instance peptic ulcer, asthma, ulcerative colitis). By stressing that man in health and disease functions as a psychosomatic unit, the Hippocratic and holistic approach in medicine was, so to speak, reintroduced. When we speak of psychological process and physiological processes, we are speaking of different ways of approaching one phenomenon. The phenomenon itself is not so divided. It is evident that the term 'psychosomatic', as commonly used, has two meanings: one when applied to the general field of medicine (the holistic approach); and another when applied to disorders such as essential hypertension, asthma, or peptic ulcer, in which psychological factors are supposed to play a major role. 'Psychosomatic' is thus a vague term reflecting reawakened concern for the social, psychological, as well as somatic, factors involved in diseases, and especially in a certain range of diseases. (Lewis 1977: 136)
I can supplement this discussion with a factoid I picked up from Q.I. "Up until the 1980′s, almost all doctors told their patients that ulcers were caused by stress or spicy foods, and prescribed rest and bland, milk diets. Then, a heretic Australian physician proved to the world that a bacteria was causing most stomach ulcers. To make his point and get others to believe his theory, he had to infect himself and get sick, but was subsequently awarded the Nobel prize in medicine in 2005 for his efforts and self-sacrifice."


Skultans, Vieda 1977. Bodily Madness and the Spread of the Blush. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 145-160.
The human body is a machine of an infinite number and variety of different channels and pipes filled with different liqours and fluids, perpetually running, gliding, or creeping forward, or returning backward in a constant circle and sending out little branches and outlets, to moisten, nourish, and repair the experiences of living (Cheyne 1734:4).
This anatomical picture suggests that to Cheyne certain causes of insanity. These are (1) grossness of the fluids, (2) a corrosive quality of the fluids, (3) a too great laxity of the fibres. (Skultans 1977: 149)
An interesting historical account of the human body.
Through this period the term 'complexion' refers alternatively to skin color, disposition and character. The vocabulary of humoural pathology also follows this pattern. Words like sanguine and melancholic are used to describe complexion and appearance as well as styles of action and attitude. Such linguistic usage encourages an easy transition from emotional disposition to accompanying bodily characteristics. (Skultans 1977: 149)
A note on the word "complexion".
Cheyne has a memorable opening to his book: 'The Spirit of man can bear his infirmities, but a wounded spirit who can bear?' (Skultans 1977: 150)
This is indeed memorable.
Thus in the early 1800's the theme of Moral management first appears. Moral managers urge the abandonment of physical restraint. Instead they advocate phsychological techniques. Appeal to this conscience and will of the patient is suggested. In this way it is thought the power of self-control can be nurtured and the art of self-government furthered. In fact, the practice of moral management relies on a changed view of man and his emotions. The Cartesian disjunction between body and soul asserts itself. These theories emphasixe the privacy and power of thought, feeling and emotion. At the same time they seek the external signs of these inner events. Within this context the study of facial expression assumes great importance. Many studies on physiology appear. Charles Bell (1806), Alexander Morison (1824), Thomas Burgess (1828) and Charles Darwin (1872) are all concerned with the physical expression of inner states. Even general texts on medicine contain sections on expression. Charles Bell writes: 'Expression is to passion what language is to thought.' The key to this grammar must therefore be sought. Paradoxically this interest in expression leads to the acceptance of a mechanistic view of facial expression and to stereotypes of physiognomy. Following the Cartesian approahc, different blobs of emotion are thought to impress the face in different ways and thus result in different expressions. Johann Caspar Lavater's Essays on Phsyiognomy (1778) became a best seller of the period. It was a standard possession of every self-respectful family, who would not dream of hiring a cook or governess, let alone consider a prospect of son-in-law, without consulting Lavater. This vogue for reading faces was beautifully satirized a few years later by George Lichtenberg (1783). (Skultans 1977: 151-152)
How the study of emotional expression is related to physiognomy.
Nineteenth century medicine gained two diagnostic categories. They are spermatorrhoea and masturbational insanity. Both convey anxiety about loss of semen. The history of interest in this area is worth considering and requires some explanation. Why did masturbation come to be thought of as an activity of general importance, let alone of medical importance? And why did this happen in the mid-nineteenth century?
Literature contains few references to masturbation. John Aubrey is unusual in describing the young Duke of Buckingham's solitary pursuits (1950). Otherwise one has to wait until the twentieth century before it becomes an acceptable literary theme. 'Scientific' interest in the subjeect can be given a precise date of origin. In 1710, an anonymous clergyman published a treatise on masturbation entitled Onania, or the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution. Very many editions appeared in the course of the century. Onania is written with elegance and style. This terseness of style seems typical of eighteenth century writing and was lost by later nineteenth century physicians. The flavour of the book may be caught by quoting the opening sentence:
Self-pollution is that unnatural practice by which persons of either sex may defile their own bodies without the assistance of others, whilst yielding to filthy imaginations they endeavor to imitate and procure to themselves, that sensation which God has ordained to attend the carnal commerce of the two sexes, for the continuance of our species. (Anon 1710:1).
The first edition is just under 100 pages long. Later editions are slightly longer and include a correspondence between the author and a critic of the book. The debate concerns the relative sinfulness of fornication and masturbation. The critic argues that self-pollution is the lesser of the two evils since it avoids the debauchment of innocent women. (Skultans 1977: 153-154)
On wiki there was a piece on a group of followers who were somehow related to the Kamasutra and believed that witholding semen can extend one's life. So this is a fairly ancient theme.
At first sight, the mid-nineteenth century interest in spermatorrhoea and masturbation seems incompatible with the concurrent commitment to moral management. The 1840s and 1850s are also the period during which the major works of the moral managers appear. The moral managers urged the abandonment of physical restraint which had been central to eighteenth century therapeutic practice. Instead they advocated psychological techniques. Appeal to the conscience and will of the patient was suggested. In this way, it was thought, the power of self-control could be nurtured and the art of self-government furthered. However, both areas of interest presuppose self-control and thus complement each other. Both must be seen as an expression of concern with continence in its widest sense. The disapproval of venery is but another aspect of the pursuit of moderation and discipline. Masturbation, one of the most solitary of activities, is regarded as the archvice precisely because of the hopes vested in the private endeavour of the individual. In typifying loss of control, it is seen as the moral failure par excellence. (Skultans 1977: 157-158)
As I am interested in self-control and self-government, this adds a valuable piece to the puzzle. A marginal - sexual - piece, but a piece nonetheless.


Loudon, J. B. 1977. On Body Products. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 161-178.
The word excreta is generally taken to refer exclusively to faeces and urine, even though waste products are also excreted in other less conspicuous ways in breath and sweat and through intestinal gases emitted as flatus. Excreta and the act of excretion assume social importance for partly biological reasons which seem obvious enough at first sight. The organs involved in the discharge of faeces, flatus and urine are closely associated anatomically with the genitalia - the frontiers par excellence of the self. They raise basic questions about identity. Urethra and anus are clearly parts of the body: what comes out of them is, and yet is not, part of oneself. Furthermore, human excreta and at least some of the secretions mentioned have specifically characteristic smells. In some cases they are more noticeable when the substances are fresh, in others when the substances are stale or undergoing bacterial decomposition. In any event, for reasons which are partly biochemical and partly no doubt the result of socialization, some of these smells seem to be peculiarly perceptible to members of all societies and peculiarly liable to endowment with special meanings. (Loudon 1977: 164)
One philosophy student defended a BA thesis on abjects last spring; he would have benefited from this article. Still, I must also consider it in my own work.
Among mammals there is no great variation in the importance and relative size and development of the rhinencephalon, the olfactory portions of the cerebral hemisphere. Rodents are the outstanding example of macrosmatic mammals, classified as those which depend very greatly for survival on a highly developed sense of smell and on other associated feeding reflexes arising in the snout or muzzle, including touch, taste and muscular sensibility. Man puts himself among microsmatic mammals, whose olfactory centres are less important. Nevertheless those parts of the human body most plentifully supplied with sensory nerve endings consist of the nose, lips, tongue and finger tips; and it is a matter of common observation, attested by a flood of writers of childhood memoirs, that the senses of smell and touch are those most powerfully evocative of profoundly important (and usually, though not always, pleasurable) memories. (Loudon 1977: 165)
Just learning new words, and valuable insights into the human body.
An extreme example is that of the response to danger induced in most people by the sight and smell of a corpse in a moderately advanced state of decomposition. In this case fear or horror, instances of what Lazarus (1971), in order to distinguish a psychological response from purely physiological stress, has termed 'dystress', may operate through internal secretions of the adrenal gland to produce nausea if not actual vomiting. (Loudon 1977: 167-168)
The work cited is The concepts of stress and disease, although it seems to be rarely used or misused by others. I'm not sure what's the difference between distress and dystress or whether there is a difference.


Arnold, Katherine 1977. The Introduction of Poses to a Peruvian Brother and Changing Images of Male and Female. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 179-198.
Prostitution is the hiring of the body for sexual purposes. Sexual behaviour is one of the most intimate areas of a person's life, and it is correspondingly difficult to investigate. Prostitution in Peru is legal, however, and it was easier to collect verifiable and systematic information in a legal brothel than has proved possible in countries where organised prostitution is illegal (Sanford 1975, Winn 1974).
Moreover, among the mestizo population of Cuzco (the Spanish-speaking majority of the people), it is accepted that men need extra-marital sex, and assumed that if they are not going to the brothel they must be having affairs. The brothel is regarded by most wives as the preferred area for a man to fulfil his sexual needs. It is therefore possible to discuss the brothel relatively openly, and indeed, prostitution is a topic of great interest for many wives, who speculate on how much these exotic women earn, and how they live in general. (Arnold 1977: 179)
By today's standards this article is already a blatantly sexist affair.
According to Ortner, women have been universally defined as inferior to men. She proposes that this is because society is concerned to demarcate itself from nature, and women are on three levels closer to nature than men, and therefore despised:
  • The woman's body is more involved with 'species life', in contrast with man's physiology, which allows him to devote himself to culture rather than nature.
  • The woman's body forces her to adopt social roles, such as child rearing, which are culturally defined as a lower order than men's.
  • Women are deemed to have or require a different psychic structure from men, in order to fulfil their functions at the first level described. This psychic structure is defined as inferior to men's.
(Arnold 1977: 189)
So much sexism I don't even


Hanna, Judith Lynne 1977. To Dance is Human. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 211-232.
Because the word 'dance' has numerous referents, an operating definition is called for. The derivation and conceptualization are discussed elsewhere (Hanna 1977b).
Dance is defined as (1) human behaviour composed, from the dancer's perspective, of (2) purposeful, (3) intentionally rhythmical, and (4) culturally patterned sequences of (5a) nonverbal body movement and gesture which are (5b) not ordinary motor activities, (5c) the motion having inherent and 'aesthetic' value. Within this conceptualization, behaviour must meet each of the four criteria in order to be classified as 'dance'. That is to say, each behavioural characteristic is necessary, and the set constitutes sufficiency; the combination of all these factors must exist. (Hanna 1977: 212)
That's a pretty good operating (working) definition.
Non-humans appear to lack the human level of synesthesia, the capacity to perceive and transmit simultaneously stimuli in several senses. In dance there is the sight of performers moving in time and space; the sounds of breathing, the impact of feet upon the ground, and other physical movements; the odours of bodily exertion; the feeling of kinesthetic activity (the dancing) or empathy (observing); the touch of body to body and/or performing area; and the proxemic sense. Humans can combine media in the dance. They can interweave music, song, and movement, extend or otherwise sculpt the body through costuming and accoutrements (e.g., elongating it through stilts or masks, creating illusions of foreshortening through body paint). They can 'fossilize' or capture the motor-gesture patterns through objectification in lithic, ceramic, or painted form (Kurath and Marti 1964; Hanna 1975), or, more recently, in notation, film, or videotape. (Hanna 1977: 213)
I'm especially interested in the process of objectification of movement.
Adaption. The phenomenological movement and gesture of dance may be its primary end and reward (i.e., autotelic). However, the pleasure principle does not negate the instrumental purpose but subservs it. Dance may have been, and may still be, an adaptive pattern spreading and differentiating at the expense of less efficient precursors. Yet dance need not be adaptive to exist. One of the mechanisms of adaption to an environment is natural selection, and dance may be the result of processes that have been selected. Alland (1973), in discussing art, refers to exploratory behaviour, a sense of rhythm, metaphorisation, and the ability of the brain to make fine distinctions. In some societies natural selection could even favor individuals with dance skills. For example, in cultures where choosing a mate is influenced by the exhibition of skill in a dance that incorporates qualities which are deemed predictive of success in life, the incompetent may be excluded from procreation. This occurs in much war dance behaviour (discussed in Hanna 1977a) which might also confer a selective advantage if it prepares a childless warrior for battle success both physically and emotionally. Alternatively, patterns of behaviour originally developed to serve directly adaptive ends may recur through habituation, even though they cease to be adaptive (Darwin 1965:28). They may be so intrinsically rewarding that they become used for other purposes.
Purely exploratory behaviour, pretending, the anticipatory working out of imminent problems, or experimenting with something new in dance, may in themselves be adaptive (cf. Kreitler and Kreitler 1972:330). There is evidence that the absence of such exploratory behaviour has serious effects (cf. Jolly 1972:231-235), though this has not yet been shown to apply to dance.
Darwin, with whom the modern scientific study of movement behaviour may be said to have begun, regarded motor behaviour as subject to the same laws of natural selection, adaption, modification, and extinction as are bodily structures (Darwin 1965:xii). (Hanna 1977: 215-216)
She is in fact speaking here about sexual selection. And Darwin's contention that body movements are inheritable is of course false.
Maturation. Dance is learned through social interaction within the constraints of general psychobiological maturation. Psychologists recognize that our primordial experiences with the body have an impact on later motor behaviour. Body image, rooted in sensory experience and proprioception, refers to the memory of experiences we have had with our bodies and the attitudes toward or expectations about the personal body. (Hanna 1977: 219-220)
Quite self-evident, but nevertheless useful to keep in mind.
AESTHETIC DIMENSION IN DANCE
The concept 'aesthetic' refers to notions of order, appropriateness, quality, or skill intrinsic and extrinsic to dance. It encompasses the specific movements used and their manipulation in time and space with energy (see Table of Dance Movement categories). Aesthetic parameters specify how dance should achieve its purpose within a particular culture or subculture. The dancer's aesthetic is related to his or her reference group (one to which he or she belongs or aspires to belong).

TABLE 1
Dance Movement Data Categories
Movement definition: the visual result of energy release in time and space through muscular response to a stimulus; it is the essence of dance. Its structure (interrelation of parts) and style (characteristic mode and quality of all the contributing elements) can be analyzed in these terms:

Space (design):direction (path the moving body cuts through space)
level (high - weight on ball of foot, low - body lowered through flexing knees, middle - normal stand, elevated, kneel, sit, lie, curvilinear, diagonal)
amplitude (size of movement, relative amount of distance covered or space enclosed by the body in action)
focus (direction of eyes and body)
grouping (overall spatial pattern of movement in relation to dancer, created in dance space):
free form or organized pattern (individual, couple, small group, team - linear or circular, symmetrical or asymmetrical)
physical link (none, parts of body, lenght of contact)
shape (physical contour of movement design - includes direction, level, amplitude)

Rhythm (time, flow):
tempo (rate at which movements follow one another)
duration (relative lenght of movements, patterns, performance)
accent (rhythmically significant stress)
metre (basic recurrent patterns of tempo, duration, and accent)

Dynamics (force, rleative amount of energy, effort - tension and relaxation released by the body to accomplish movement):
space (indulgence - minimum or maximum use ('direct' straight lines or 'flexible' curves and deviations)
flow (control, continuous transfer of energy which qualifies movement - free, unimpeded or bound, hampered)
locomotion (means of moving from one place to another)
projectional quality (texture produced by combination of elements - relative quickness or slowness of energy release in space)

Characteristic use of body (instrument of dance):
postureparts of body (hinge, rotation, flexion, extension, vibration) [gesture - a movement in space that does not carry weight]
locomotion (walk, run, leap, hop, jump, skid, slide, gallop)

Although some movements may have universally shared meanings, such as approaching, fleeing, and attacking, jumping with joy, or drooping with sorrow, most are semantically culture-specific (Kreitler and Kreitler 1972:181). Mimesis or conventional stylization within specific movements and gestures have been identified as the chief means of symbolization in dance.
There are at least six modes of signification that may have applied to dance at the etic level, and they may be conventional or idiosyncratic.
  1. A concrete representation produces the outward aspect of a thing, event, or condition, such as a mimetic portrayal of an animal.
  2. An icon represents the properties or formal characteristics of a thing, event or condition, and is responded to as if it were what it represents, such as a danced deity revered as the deity.
  3. A stylization encompasses arbitrary gestures or movements, such as pointing to the heart as a gesture of love, performing specific movements or dance styles as an emblem, or dancing abstract images within particular parameters.
  4. A metonym constitutes a conceptualization of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated or contiguous; for example, the Ubakala dance for the birth of a child performed for a bridge-launching is metonymical to the creative process.
  5. A metaphor expresses one thought, experience, or phenomenon by another which resembles the former and is somehow analogous to it, such as dancing a leopard to refer to the power of death.
  6. Actuality is an individual dancing in terms of one or several of his or her statuses and roles, such as Louis XIV dancing as a king and being so treated.
(Hanna 1977: 223-224)


Lange, Roderyk 1977. Some Notes on the Anthropology of Dance. In: Blacking, John (ed.), The Anthropology of the Body. London (etc.): Academic Press, 241-252.
Since dance is an activity very intimately connected with the human condition, it reveals many aspects of human development. In dance, the only instrument used is the body itself: the dancer is at the same time the creator and the bearer of the dance activity. The texture of dance is the movement of the dancer, and no other media are necessary to reveal expression, symbolism, and eventually poetry, non-verbally. Perhaps nowhere else has man ever expressed himself so directly and completely as through dance. (Lange 1977: 241)
Dance = nonverbal poetry.

1 comments:

Mr Pix said...

You're being lied to.

A snake oil salesman won't hesitate to lie right to your face to make a buck, and Big Pharma is no different.

Brands like Viagra, Cialis, and others are raking in billions by keeping you ignorant to the truth about erectile dysfunction.

The fact of the matter is that reversing your ED...

And ensuring it never returns...

...doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, or even require embarrassing trips to your doctor.

Sound too good to be true? Watch the video below, you won't believe how effective safe and easy all-natural ED treatment can be!

===> Big Pharma is LYING to Your Face about Erectile Dysfunction <=====

WARNING: Big Pharma does not want you, or anyone, to see this information
Their so called "cure" for ED doesn't really solve the underlying problem.

And why would they?

If they were offering a permanent solution to ED, they'd lose all of their customers and go bankrupt.
But the truth is that erectile dysfunction CAN be permanently reversed...

...and turn you into the kind of sexual tyrannosaurus that women uncontrollably lust after the process.

===> What Big Pharma Doesn't Want You to Know About Erectile Dysfunction <=====

P.S. Apparently Big Pharma is on a witch hunt to take down videos like this. If they find out about this, it may not be around much longer so watch the short video now while you still have time! ===> Proof Of REAL Growth <=====

Post a Comment