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Wednesday, 01 May 2013 22:14

The Body of Knowledge (and Repression): The Body as a Site of Repression

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Much has been made in Postmodern theorising of "the body as a site of repression and domination". Apart from the well known writings of Foucault, more contemporary (and experiential) accounts are to be found in the writings of Peter Mclaren, Phillip Corrigan and other critical padagogues. Knowledge, from this point of view is not a merely cerebral phenomenon but rather an imprint, left upon the body by life's painful experiences.  In the western world we have come to believe, since the sixteenth century, that the body and the mind are two separate entities - that the mind "thinks" and the body "feels". This split in the western concept of being has implications that reach into every corner of our social, personal and private lives. This PDF begins by looking at the issue of what has been called The Imposter Syndrome - the feeling of being an imposter that many successful people from humble beginnings feel. It suggests that this ontological insecurity is based upon deep childhood learnings that are locked into the bodyʻs own structure.  The issue is explored in a Gestalt Therapy session involving the design of a school in which the designer discovered deep and hitherto experiences and feeling which were shaping the content and form of the design in remarkable ways. We compare this western view of the body with an eastern conceptions and discover interesting parallels in the work of some western psychiatrists. The discussion has deeper implications, indeed, for indigenous peoples who have been the recipients of what may be entirely inappropriate forms of counselling and psychiatric treatment and raises the demand for a model of indigenous psychology.

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 To download a related article, The Social Construction of Health, click here

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