Bodies as Arenas of Experimentation : Experiencing Novel Ways of Running

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Gross , T 2021 , ' Bodies as Arenas of Experimentation : Experiencing Novel Ways of Running ' , Journal of Contemporary Ethnography , vol. 50 , no. 4 , 0891241621996789 , pp. 524-549 . https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241621996789

Title: Bodies as Arenas of Experimentation : Experiencing Novel Ways of Running
Author: Gross, Toomas
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date: 2021-08-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 26
Belongs to series: Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
ISSN: 0891-2416
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/332995
Abstract: Recreational running has been a widely popular form of leisure for half a century, and many countries have experienced a marathon boom in the past decades. In recent years, however, runners have started to run in new ways, often in unconventional settings, and compete in races with various alternative formats. Through an ethnographic approach that builds on in-depth narrative interviews with recreational runners, analysis of runners’ blogs, and participant observation in running events in Estonia, I suggest that as completing a marathon becomes a routine activity, increasingly many dedicated runners turn their bodies into veritable “arenas of experimentation.” Drawing on Zeiler’s concept of bodily “eu-appearance” and Ingold’s concerted approach to movement, perception, and knowledge, and building more generally on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological perspective, I argue that such corporeal experimentation is motivated by novel sensorial experiences that lead to a heightened awareness of one’s own body as well as by a pursuit of altered and intensified perceptual awareness of the environment one runs in.
Subject: Estonia
Running
body
experimentation
senses
5141 Sociology
519 Social and economic geography
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