Title: The performativity of 'double bodies': exploring the phenomenological conception of Leib/Körper distinction in interactive bodywork
Authors: Jaana Parviainen
Addresses: School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere, 33014, Finland
Abstract: In contributing to theoretical discussions of the working body, this paper explores the phenomenological distinction between the physical body (Körper) and the lived body (Leib), and its relevance for understanding the embodied interactive work and performativity that are required in contemporary service economies. To concretise this theoretical discussion, I analyse the bodywork of female group fitness instructors using interviews and ethnographic research material. This phenomenological analysis focuses on the multi-layer and complex expressivity of the body, and how female fitness instructors learn to portray their bodies in a manner in which their Körper stands the test of the customer's monitoring gaze, in particular the muscularity of the body, body weight, sexual attractiveness, and ageing. The notion of 'double bodies' refers to the contradiction of when the perception of the physical body as seen from outside does not coincide with the emotionally perceived lived body felt from the inside, and our efforts to guide and control the impression that others receive from our bodily presentation.
Keywords: embodiment; interactive bodywork; phenomenology; performativity; service economy; fitness industry; self-reflection; interactivity; female fitness instructors; lived body; physical body; embodied interactive work; muscularity; body weight; sexual attractiveness; ageing; emotional perceptions; bodily presentation.
International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2014 Vol.6 No.4, pp.311 - 326
Received: 14 Feb 2014
Accepted: 27 Aug 2014
Published online: 10 Mar 2015 *