International Council for Traditional Music

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Journal For The Anthropological Study Of Human Movement Call for Papers

Journal For The Anthropological Study Of Human Movement Call for Papers

A special issue of JASHM will be devoted to papers that explore the significance of “agency” within movement practices in their cultural contexts. We are interested in papers that critically examine the idea of “agency” from the various theoretical perspectives in which it exists. We wonder, what is at stake here for understanding human beings as dynamically embodied persons? Why does it matter? A succinct definition of agency was provided by Hornsby:

agent. A person . . . who is the subject when there is action. A long history attaches to thinking of the property of being an agent as (i) possessing a capacity to choose between options and (ii) being able to do what one chooses. Agency is then treated as a causal power. Some such treatment is assumed when ‘agent-causation’ is given a prominent role to play in the elucidation of action (Hornsby 1980 - italics added).

We are convinced that definitions of human agency tend to determine how and in what ways we conceive of human beings as active movers/speakers in socio-cultural and linguistic worlds of enormous variety and complexity. Others may disagree (papers on disagreements are welcome), but from our point of view, it is not surprising that concepts of human agency (and related concepts of personhood and self, as well as social, physical and personal being), vary widely across anthropological, sociological, philosophical, psychological – in fact, all --studies of the human moving body. Studies of the dance, dancing and performance studies are especially important, but historical approaches are too.

Theoretical approaches as diverse as the phenomenological, semiotic, psychoanalytic, somatic, cognitive, feminist, post-structural, post-colonial, and bio-genetic approaches generate alternative (often contradictory) views, each of which, in the end, tell their readers what kind of player is at work on the human stage. What do you think? What is your favored approach? Why?

Please submit a 250 word abstract by April 15th, 2010; papers due July 1st.
send to JASHM Co-Editor: See