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Triple take: Practicing Hegel, reading Alexander

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Abstract:

This article, written at the intersection of critical philosophy and somatics, explores the idea that somatic practices have something to teach philosophy. To do so, it places Frederic Matthias Alexander (1869–1955), the founder of The Alexander Technique, in conversation with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1779–1831). Alexander's autobiographical narrative provides an account of his revelatory journey that helps follow Hegel's philosophical journey. The article focuses on Alexander's third book, The Use of the Self, and on one section of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, 'The Unhappy Consciousness', to ask whether the discourse and practice of The Alexander Technique can provide a methodology for reading Hegel, a way to enter into the performance of the Phenomenology through a 'somatic mode of attention', one that privileges the lived experience of movement as a source for understanding philosophical texts.

Keywords: F. M. ALEXANDER; G. W. F. HEGEL; HABIT; INHIBITION; MEDIATION; SUBLATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jdsp.2.2.131_1

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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