Embodiment, Plasticity and the Disclosiveness of Failure

Published in ‘Body, Space and Technology’. (online)

Please cite as May, S. (2012) ‘Embodiment, Plasticity and the Disclosiveness of Failure’, Body, Space & Technology 11/01 


In this paper, I want to argue that embodiment is characterised by a plasticity which entails that it can include both the biological limb and the ‘artificial’ tool, as evidenced by recent research in cognitive science. Moreover, I want to claim that it is only in failure that the embodied limb and tool are phenomenologically distinct. I will go on to argue that this claim is essential for understanding the phenomenon of failed embodiment, such as that found within the clowning tradition, before concluding with a short provocation regarding the social and political implications of such a view.

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