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Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283, 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2010.00373.


Visceral Geographies: Mattering, Relating, and Defying
Jessica Hayes-Conroy1* and Allison Hayes-Conroy2
Women’s Studies and Environmental Studies, Wheaton College
Growth and Structure of Cities Program, Bryn Mawr College

This study explores the task of doing ‘visceral geographies,’ enrolling many areas of body-centered
scholarship in the task of better understanding the visceral realm including geographies of affect
and emotion, non-representational theory, sensuous and haptic geographies, health and disability
studies, and scholarship on performance and movement. The authors desire to open lines of con-
nection and communication between and beyond the current bounds of this scholarship. In doing
so, the authors attempt to clarify the goals of visceral geography, particularly in terms of political
action and social change. Three goals stand out: first, visceral geographies advance understandings
of the agency of physical matter, both within and between bodies. Second, visceral geographies
move beyond static notions of the individual body and toward more contextualized and interac-
tive versions of the self and other. And third, visceral geographies encourage a skepticism of
boundaries by insisting on the imagining and practicing of our (political) lives in, through, and
beyond dualistic tensions.

What does it mean to ‘go with your gut?’ ‘Feel it in your bones?’ or react to something
‘viscerally?’ In common parlance, the visceral is typically associated with elemental emo-
tions, natural instincts, and non-intellectual bodily judgments. It is a word that connotes a
sort of purity and simplicity, in so far as visceral reactions are imagined to derive from
natural or pre-social forces (deep) within the body. Yet, several decades if not more of
scholarly research on the body would suggest that the visceral is anything but uncompli-
cated, and that the body is far from pre-social (Butler 1993; Nash 2000). Indeed, within
and beyond the discipline of geography, research on the body – and particularly the phys-
ical, material body – has yielded a diverse, detailed, and (often) linguistically dense set of lit-
eratures (only some of which use the term ‘visceral’ itself).
We have elsewhere detailed the concept of ‘visceral’ as well as grappled with its
presence in empirical investigation (Hayes-Conroy 2009; Hayes-Conroy and Hayes-
Conroy 2008). We see such particular uses of ‘visceral’ as contributing to a much
broader, widening discussion about the centrality of the active (and sensing) material
body to both the academic projects of geographers and the progressive politics that
many of us care about. Our intent in this article is not to try to run through a com-
prehensive description of all recent academic work on the material body, nor is it to
provide a roadmap to the ‘sites of interest’ within this scholarship. The past 5 years
alone have produced numerous review articles in geography with relevance to bodily
materiality (Crang 2005; Lorimer 2005; McCormack 2008; Paterson 2009; Whatmore
2006). All of these reviews are important to what we discuss here, yet our goal is
more inventive than evaluative, and more invitational than orientative. That is to say,

ª 2010 The Authors
Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

the politics of the visceral do not just arise from the ways that we. In each of these sections. emphasize internal visceral sensations and reinscribe their legitimacy in our social world. and so on). as academics. the work also helps us to begin to spec- ify the visceral as political. write about. dynamic.’’ (McWhorter 1999. but also from our recognition that the dynamics of social institutions and ⁄ or structures are always already visceral. visceral geography encourages skepticism of boundaries – e. geographies of affect and emotion. we have organized this study into three sections: Mattering. nature–society geography. Second.’ Moreover. health and disability studies. body-centered scholarship to explore recent examples of academic work that contribute to these projects. we desire to open lines of connection and communication between and beyond the current bounds of such schol- arship. We find this definition useful because it cap- tures at once the physical capacities. and nei- ther do some of the works advance all three of these projects at once.’ we want to be both generous and specific in our invitation ⁄ invention. method. In specifying the concept of ‘visceral geographies. Nevertheless. through. post-humanism. and Defying (boundaries).g.00373. In our view. [and] find ways to live ourselves as developmental organisms. cultural studies. and move forward with doing ‘visceral geographies’ in a way that enrolls many different areas of body-cen- tered scholarship in the task of better understanding the visceral (e. 175) ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283.1749-8198. mind ⁄ body. Many of our examples do not fit solely and squarely into one of the above three categories.2010. and beyond such tensions. With such analytical projects in mind. we also want to specify and clarify the goals of visceral geographies. our goal in inviting and specifying ‘visceral geographies’ is to move beyond delineations of how best to conceive of. both within and between bodies. First. and pedagogy. encourage. Longhurst et al. Relating. sensuous and haptic geogra- phies. visceral geography advances a greater understanding of the agency of physical matter. and fuzzy boundaries of the human body. or do body-centered scholarship. Following from this definition. moods. and toward the creation of effective political strategies for affecting progressive social change. and sometimes inconsistent array of geo- graphic scholarship on the body that collectively promotes and expands at least three ana- lytical projects. and ways of being that emerge from our sensory engagement with the material and discursive environments in which we live’ (p. taken jointly this body of literature works to develop and extend geographic work on ⁄ with ⁄ through ‘the visceral. particularly in terms of political action and social change. But. combining both structural (political-economic) and post-structural (fluid) concerns. 334). 10. Ulti- mately. Third. and especially from the actions that result from this recognition – changes in policy. representation ⁄ non-representation – not through a com- plete dismissal of such dualisms but through insistence on the imagining and practicing of our (political) lives in. scholarship on performance and movement. relational processes.1274 Visceral geographies rather than delineating yet another body-centered subfield. we draw together various (and often divergent) texts within geographic. Mattering ‘‘We [must] take notice of and begin to think through the bodies that we are now. We want to develop. visceral geography moves beyond static notions of the individual (body) and toward more contextualized and inter- active versions of the self and other. in our view. we propose that visceral geography can be thought of as a conceptually broad.g. non-representational theory (NRT).1111/j. (2009) recently described the visceral as ‘the sensations.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .

affect and NRT scholars want to stress a dif- ferent kind of intelligence about the world that is located in and between physical bodies. This literature tells us that matter has agency. non-representational. affective. neural pathways – that. while a feminist response (discussed in section three) has emerged from Thien (2005).’ which have increasingly appealed to scholars interested in the physical and sensuous. Rodaway’s (1994) Sensuous Geographies is often cited as an initial attempt to connect geography to physical bodily feeling and haptic (tactile) knowledge. explaining: ‘through haptic encounters a place and our place within in get made and become familiar’ (p. Scholars contributing to this body of work include Thrift (2004. Bodily matter here goes by many names: physical. moving body in space (2003). but it was also cri- tiqued for its abstract and formulaic approach to the body (Smith 1995). Hetherington (2003) illustrates how people perform place through touch.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Bondi (2005). Obrador-Pons (2007). For Obrador-Pons. has long been interested in the role of the physical. or the physical capacities of fat that allow a fat body to ‘do’ in excess of the meanings placed upon it (Colls 2007). 2005). and Anderson (2005. 2006). McCormack (2007) explains that he wants to diagram the ‘molecular affects’ of the material body and their influence on both scientific practice and daily life experience. he argues that. for exam- ple. Much of the above work is related to scholarship on ‘affect’ and ‘NRT. particularly in attempting to demonstrate the role of the physical body in the production of space(s). or the molecular argue that something is missing from geographic scholarship when we fail to consider the profound influence that bodily sensation and experience have on the unfolding of social and political life. Ignored and neglected. this means that how it feels to be nude is directly constitutive of the space of the beach as it is experi- enced ⁄ lived. McCormack. the mattering of matter. among many. they argue. chemi- cal processes. Other scholars have articulated similar body-centered projects. But the overall effect of these discussions is to encourage and extend scholarly recognition of the role that the physical body plays in our social world. 124) Instead. influence the way we think.2010. biological.1111/j. ‘the omission of sensa- tion and movement in contemporary cultural theory has…undermined notions of body and change. sensuous. for example. there is an emphasis on doing that is particularly important. 10. Likewise. ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283. arguing that the focus on representation in the post-modern era has led to a great lacuna in our understanding of the role of the physical body in social space. Scholars of the sensuous. described how a beach is materially made through bodily experiences of nudity. McCormack (2003). particularly through sensuous experience. such scholars want to draw attention to how the body in space is materially pro- ductive.1749-8198. the haptic. feeling body. Nash (2000). or the moving materiality of urban life that renders the city processual (Latham and McCormack 2004). In such works. 1942). Since then numerous geographers have taken an interest in the sensing. and act. that the physical body is an actor in the daily unfolding of political and social events. and others (see also Tolia-Kelly 2006). McCormack’s project is therefore to consider how such mechanisms contribute to the spaces of human geography. molecular. are the embodied and sensory aspects of mobility that shape people’s transportation decisions (Spinney 2009). Molecular here is shorthand for a variety of bodily mechanisms – e. haptic. through a body’s affective response. Visceral geographies 1275 The first set of diverse literatures that we wish to draw together in advancing this visceral project are all attuned to the importance of the physical body – in short.’ trapping the body in ‘a grip of pre-coded cultural meanings. Following Massumi. Accordingly.’ (p. In a recent work. feel. This is because affect ⁄ NRT are theoretical perspectives that give primacy to the non-cognitive ways in which people move about their daily lives.00373.g.

’ where the body’s physical capacities are consciously re-mobilized to affect pro- gressive change (also see Gibson-Graham 2003). ‘‘The corporeal economies of human life…are being rendered available as material to be worked upon. for reasons of power and change. Indeed. The authors argue. and manipulated in…. scholars have come to discuss how affect can be manipulated through specific techniques – for exam- ple. Latham 2003. McWhorter (1999) offers several intrigu- ing examples of what this could mean in her own work. (2008). Yet for these scholars. intervened in. suggesting. that attending to feelings of disgust or revulsion during research may provide valuable information. for over a decade now health and disability scholars have been articulating a comparable body-centered approach.In turn. McCormack ends up arguing that. For example.2010. and other research on and with the body translate into political action or social change? Part of the answer is that paying attention to the physical body’s role in social life is not only a way of specifying how oppressive regimes may become ‘internalized’ or ‘embodied. for example. Thus. along with Probyn (2000) and others (including ourselves – Hayes-Conroy and Hayes-Conroy 2008. many others have also come to emphasize the role of the material body in producing our social world. to ignore the physical body in favor of a ‘purely’ discursive. But exactly how can sensuous geographies.’’ (McCormack 2007. Thrift 2000). 373) ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283. a focus on physical bodily matter does not imply that cognitive or dis- cursive activities are absent from such physical processes – a point to which we will return later.1749-8198. 377). but also with bodies.1111/j. Hayes-Conroy 2009). from learning how to line dance in reclamation ⁄ disruption of whiteness to planting and eating from a garden in resistance of corporate foodways.…affective economies can be and are mobilized in wider political and discursive economies of self-hood and subjectivity. For these reasons.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . particularly qualitative and participatory. Crang 2002. have also contrib- uted to a focus on the physical. For these scholars. sensing body. Hall (2000) has stressed the role of the physical body in the experience of disability.’ but also a way to recognize opportunities for what feminist philosopher Ladelle McWhorter (1999) calls ‘counter- attacks. Scholars of research methods. Johnston. their project is not only to conduct research on bodies. we must approach methods with a sense of dynamic. Affect scholars like Thrift (2004) have articulated a similar position. arguing that the recognition of the material body is not only important analytically but ultimately for rea- sons of understanding and intervening in (bio)power and control. creative practice (Bennett 2004. 10. constructionist explanation of disease is to render the physical body passive in the unfolding of daily life. geographies of affect. and Ho have been particularly innovative in the opening up of their research methods to the visceral. that is. that attention to the visceral is crucial for understanding power and overcoming oppression. How and why is all of this political? Longhurst et al. (2009) suggest that paying atten- tion to bodily materiality is ultimately important for political reasons.00373. In Longhurst et al.1276 Visceral geographies Beyond scholarship on affect and NRT. while Moss and Dyck (1999) draw upon Dorn and Laws (1994) to highlight the importance of considering ‘embodied’ experiences of illness. These scholars suggest that in order to more fully understand the body. in relation to film and popular geopolitical articulations (Carter and McCormack 2006). In this light. they urge us to consider ‘the connections between the articulation of identity and how discourses ‘‘materialize’’ and are invoked in different ways in differ- ent spaces’ (Moss and Dyck 1999. however. or through listening to music (Anderson 2005). Instead. they draw attention to the body as a physical tool through which researchers access their subjects. Longhurst.

00373.1749-8198. the above example is relevant not only to encouraging activism(s). We stress the importance of scholarship that works to eschew the individualism ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283.’ or ‘anger. what conditions are needed to promote feelings of belonging among a more diverse group? Ultimately. 17) Alongside the diverse list of vocabulary that is used to describe physical. can have a marked influence on who is moved to partake in alternative food prac- tices and who is turned off or ‘chilled’ to them. Yet.’ and so on. fluid. situated. we are also always ‘articulating’ subjects: through out enactment of practices we reforge new meanings.’’ (Probyn 2000. there is also a sense of potentiality. we have found that differences in visceral experiences of food can have a profound influence on the development of food actions and activisms (Hayes-Conroy and Hayes-Conroy 2008). for instance. In this second section. bodily sensations and judgments is another equally diverse and descriptive list used to locate those sensations and judgments in socio-spatial terms: networked. post- human. processual.1111/j. focusing on work that recognizes the human body as relational. our work points to the need to recognize how visceral experiences will shape the relative efficacy of. including efforts to influence eating habits. often along lines of race and class (as in Guthman 2008). not exclusive of the last. becomes a way to create programs and policies that are more effective at reaching – or ‘moving’ – diverse populations and disenfranchised groups. identity and place – is one approach that has the potential to ‘feed into’ social policy and practice to create stronger programmes that might help improve migrants’ experiences of integrating into a new home. Of course. hunger. We might ask. hybrid. articulated as ‘belonging. and that cannot be solved by one person or organization. belonging. By attending to the work of the visceral in the processes of daily life. home. (2009) similarly argue with respect to migrants’ experiences of adjustment in New Zealand. we want to draw together another diverse set of literatures. nutrition intervention or taste education projects. therefore. Scholars who use these terms in reference to the body do so to suggest that there is an interactive and interconnected quality to human exis- tence. Saldanha 2005. Whatmore 2006). would require activists to begin to evaluate and redress the socio-spatial circumstances that tend to trigger negative visceral responses among certain social groups. Diverse bodily experiences of alternative food. but also to public policy and pedagogical development. but as in McWhorter above. rhizomatic.’ ‘pride. where the body is neither static nor individual (Probyn 2000. among other government and non-governmental initiatives.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . attending to diverse visceral experiences. relational. the products of the integration of past practices and structures. such intervention is a multi-scalar task that is neither universal nor fixed. Relating ‘‘We are…‘articulated’ subjects. such authors contend that we can become better able to understand and mediate in the embodiment and performance of social norms. longing. new identities for ourselves. Visceral geographies 1277 There is a warning in this statement.’ or alternatively ‘shame. food. by paying attention to how matter is mobilized in these ways – how different bodies are moved to do or act – we can begin to recognize and utilize the body as an instrument of progressive political projects. categories and hierarchies. (342) In this sense.2010. In our own research on alternative food. concentrating on the visceral – people’s gut feelings. As Longhurst et al. in this instance about eating. 10. Encouraging more diverse participation in alternative food.

In short. a relational approach to the body complicates the notion of individual choice or behavior. sexuality. ‘eating…becomes a visceral reminder of how we variously inhabit the axes of economics. 10. Probyn 2000). it is important to recognize that the drive to understand the body in ⁄ as a network of relations is not particularly new. drawing from Actor Network Theory (ANT) and other hybrid approaches.1278 Visceral geographies of biological fixity and bodily isolation in favor of a more contextual and situated approach to the visceral. history. there is little doubt that feminist scholarship on matter. see also Mansfield 2008). ‘eating [also] demonstrates our taste for change’ (Probyn 2000. or individual behavior from social performance (McDowell 1995). Beyond Probyn and corporal feminist scholarship. actually.00373. 9). and recognizes that physical bodily sensations and judgments arise out of spe- cific (structural ⁄ material) circumstances (Latour 2004. intimate relations. While the extent to which such discussions have specifically considered internal bodily sensations is debatable. Grosz 1994. Yet importantly. We choose to focus on a few scholars whose work has been directive for us in thinking through the visceral. or humans from technology (Har- away 1991). for example. Affect scholars also discuss affect as relationally produced. and change). far more. ethnicity. The political effect of this is clear in Paterson’s (2009).x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . To Probyn. where he distinguishes between ‘sensations’ and ‘sensuous dispositions. the overall take-away message – the body’s relationality to the social and material world – is a central and criti- cal argument. ‘rhizomatic’ or networked approach to the body but also for her politi- cally deliberate use of the term visceral (2000). This combining of structural and post-structural arguments is crucial in that it allows her visceral approach to be at once cognizant of the fixities and inequities that power can construct (within and between bodies) and open to the contradictions and potentialities that life can produce (as bodies learn. who advocate a ‘social-materialist approach [to health]…which locates mind-bodies in space’ (Hansen and Philo 2007. Probyn’s work on food and eating is fun- damentally about power. 494.’ the latter of which allows scholars to emphasize ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283. some cultural geographers advocate an understanding of the human body as a socio-material assemblage. and especially for thinking through the body’s hybrid (or bio-social) and relational qualities (Brison 2002. embodiment and bodily performance continues to set precedent for much critical work on the body. many others have also come to dis- cuss the human body as relationally produced. We especially emphasize work that illustrates the importance of the body’s (particular) socio-spatial location(s). While the specifics of how and why this interaction takes place may fluctuate in different explanations. develop. First. which she sees exercised across various scales and circulated by way of the relationships in which eating bodies engage. where subjectivity is produced through specific material interactions within particular socio-spatial arrangements.1749-8198. and developmental. The work of corporal feminist Elspeth Probyn deserves special attention here not only for her nuanced. in which it is impossible to sepa- rate bodily matter from social context (Butler 1993). For example. Although in the past few years alone scholars have generated much important work on the relational body.1111/j. This type of analysis also mirrors the work of health and disability scholars discussed in first section. the literature that we identify here focuses in some way on the body as it exists in interaction with other bodies and things. Feminist scholars have long insisted that the body exists within a broader nexus or matrix. she also insists that this is not all that eating does. materially affected. than what we discuss here. also Bourdieu 1979). Thus. in relating through food social structures and categories are also destabilized. gender. This message is important politically for at least two reasons.2010. McWhorter 1999. and class’ (p. and where the human being is therefore always also ‘more-than’ human (Whatmore 2006). There is a good deal of scholarship that can help us in this task. 9).

Defying (Boundaries) ‘‘the boundary between physical and non-physical is very imprecise for us.’ In this sense. Thus. Visceral geographies 1279 the ‘historically sedimented bodily dispositions and patterns of haptic experience that become habituated over time’ (Paterson 2009. you’re either comfortable enough to star in the visual and hallucinatory economy. male ⁄ female.g.2010. and other bodies as insiders. Rachel Slocum’s (2007. Saldanha’s (2005) work on racialized bodies also stands in a defining way here: after describing the rhizome of forces within a certain rave scene – clothes. and you leave’ (2005. opportunities to interact with food in new ways.00373. alcohol. 10. the right clothes. in part. can also encourage the development of new habits that may disrupt unhealthy patterns of eating and empower disenfranchised groups. studying peo- ple’s visceral reactions to food has allowed us to recognize both the ways that structural inequities can reinforce fixities in food preferences and the ways that daily interactions with food can lead to new food desires and attachments. in a long history of feminists questioning dualisms (mind ⁄ body. or to solidify them through deterministic assumptions. and more optimistically. like many other relational thinkers. a curiosity that propels encounters with ‘others. peculiar sociability. in the haphazardness of daily life.) This is indeed an important shift if we want to begin to understand and respond to the ways in which ‘individual’ bodily sensations and judgments are also intensely social and political. a certain look. Hayes-Conroy and Deborah 2010.1111/j. to do so would be to deny a human body’s material agency in re- arranging and contradicting the very social patterns and categories that we wish disrupt. the unpredictability of bodily relationality can also make way for imagining new ways of feeling and being political. the potential for change that arises from the haphazard and chaotic character of daily life is also an impor- tant quality of viscerality. particularly in terms of what it means (or could mean) for vis- ceral political action and embodied social change. and so on – which produce particular bodies as outsiders. Second.’’ (Haraway 1991. These types of questions interrogate the fixities in bodily relating that uneven power structures can produce. 2008) work on race and food is particularly notable here because it insists upon the capacity for bodies. his work reveals that comfort itself is not an individual matter but instead dependent upon people’s (differing) abilities to relate to a variety of other things: previous experiences. It is therefore also politically important to not take the above fixities as inevitabilities. 153) The more investigation we do on the material. as well as in the history of nature–society geographers and environmental activists interro- gating the borders of nature and culture. to resist or re- practice race in new ways – through. high rates of diabetes and hypertension in low-income and minority communities). or you’re not. drug practices. At the same time. the more we realize that the visceral is fundamentally about fuzzy boundaries. enough money. active ⁄ passive). relational body. Slocum becomes. such as through school or community gardens. Saldanha notes. 190). ‘stri- dently dedicated to the uncertainty of outcomes’ (Lorimer 2005. Although Saldanha does not discuss the visceral directly. sometimes with dire consequences (e. almost in passing. This fuzziness finds its ancestry. for example. To bring this discussion briefly back to our own research experiences. Indeed. 14). inequitable patterns in economic and geographic access to food can serve to fix cultural and familial food tradi- tions that are repeated across generations. music. (Elsewhere we have called this visceral resonance. That is.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .1749-8198. Visceral geography necessitates a skepticism of such ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283. that ‘…in this constellation. 91).

Although affect and NRT scholarship certainly is important to the above task. Accordingly. 488). a visceral approach recognizes the very real articulation of dualisms in our socio-material world while at the same time witnessing the myriad ways in which these binaries are also called into question and destabilized through the haphazard interactions of daily life. viewing ‘emo- tion’ as more useful for feminist theory and activism. quoted in Grosz 1994. 391). Indeed. may be somewhat misleading to the visceral project of defying boundaries.g. 172] Following a similar logic. particularly because the concept does not ignore (consciously enacted) struggles for identity. Thien (2005). Hetherington insists that this comes before the production of meaning and representation. for these categories can help us to understand the body anew. Thien 2005) we want to come to terms with how we are simultaneously meaning and molecule. this means exploring how identity often changes not just haphaz- ardly and fluidly but instead through a much more viscous (and potentially conscious) process of slogging-through. material life. A fear with NRT is that the distinctions between affect and emotion.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . and other feminist geographers have articulated similar critiques. Bondi (2005). Health scholars like Moss and Dyck (1999) have also contended that women experience the embodiment of both dis- cursive and material relations simultaneously. and that the outcome of this experience is ‘the development of embodied social practices of resistance and negotiation’ (p. pre and post social. While such distinctions can be valuable. even Deleuze and Guattari (1987) (whose work is central to much scholarship on the material body) do not outright dismiss these labels: ‘‘…you have to keep small supplies of significance and subjectification.1280 Visceral geographies binaries. Nash 2000. if only to turn them against their own systems when the circumstances demand it…and you have to keep small rations of subjectivity in sufficient quantity to enable you to respond to the dominant reality. through. which are ‘post hoc rationalizations as representations of how we feel in this haptic performance’ (Hetherington 2003. he himself privileges practices over repre- sentation. Instead.1111/j. we pre- fer Lorimer’s (2005) term ‘more-than-representational’ as a most inclusive term.’’ [Deleuze and Guattari (1987). particularly because she sees this move as not politically effective. Nash worries about abandoning the knowable for the unknow- able. meaning-making activities of daily life are not separate from sensuous. if our (political) aim is to destabilize the hierarchies that divide and the categories that bind. He explains that we confirm ourselves as subjects in the act of touching (something). Hetherington 2003). and beyond these dualisms. as Grosz points out. bodily practice.2010.00373. but it does not necessarily demand that we refute their existence. Nash (2000) notes that while Thrift argues that cultural geography tends to take representation as a central focus while ignoring material. 1941). To us. conscious and unconscious. need we not begin to pay attention to how mat- ter and discourse combine in the visceral body? Following the work of Brison (2002) and other feminist scholars (Bondi 2005. While ‘non-representational theory [notably] challenges the epistemological priority of represen- tations as the grounds of sense-making’ (McCormack 2003. 10. and reconstructing the sense-making boxes of the world. If geographers and social scientists ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283. in this final section we underscore scholarship that embraces such fuzziness – like the fuzziness of mind ⁄ body and representation ⁄ non-representation – and especially scholarship that can help us to negotiate our daily lives in. toward progressive social change. Yet. or proximal and distal (e.1749-8198. Hetherington (2003) describes the concept of ‘praesentia’ to be just this sort of hybrid experience. breaking down. rather than offering strategies for connecting the two. a ‘more-than-represen- tational’ approach suggests that the discursive. We are not convinced of the importance of this distinction for understanding the role of the visceral in moving forward politically.

2010. When we do geography we always do it for some- thing – to comment on and assist with social change. Conclusion Having pulled together a diverse set of works to discuss the matter. 10. or their motivation to enter and participate in the spaces where such food can be obtained. to avert environmental damage. begin. The scholarship that we discuss above illustrates that the visceral realm can help us to understand and facilitate such geographic ‘doing’ throughout many different focal areas. enhance. a realm where social structures and bodily sensations come together and exude each other. NRT scholars tend to privilege the latter in an effort to encourage scholarly engagement with the agen- tic character of physical matter. and where categories and incarnations defy themselves. speak out. can have a strong influence on different people’s desires to eat such foods.’ like Slocum 2007). daring to be understood. 369) that are currently fixed (or made viscous) within representational categories. but in order to do this. They have authored or ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283. Visceral reactions can act as both a boundary and a bridge to alternative food ⁄ space. to shift.e. and cultural geographies and agro-food studies. aid.00373.1111/j. it is certainly not the only place. insist. ‘white people’s food. research on food was an obvious place to begin to recognize and theorize about the importance of the visceral. ‘attending to the molecular affects of human geogra- phies…provides a great deal of purchase for efforts to map the relations between affective economies and other…kinds of economy’ (McCormack 2007. then we need to ask how our consciousness of meaning and representation infuse our visceral experiences of our bodies-in-space. Visceral geographies 1281 are to ‘confront some of the perceptual limits of thinking’ (McCormack 2007. political. a visceral geographic approach ultimately requires attention to what we might term the ‘minded-body’ (McWhorter 1999). But. Hetherington’s work also implies that one’s conscious- ness of the power of sensorial engagement is important if we are to learn how to use bodily ways of knowing to re-practice place in new ways. Indeed. Where next might geographers implement a visceral approach? Cli- mate change research? Remote sensing? Perhaps. For us. in our own work on alternative food. too. Short Biographies Allison and Jessica Hayes-Conroy locate much of their research at the intersection of feminist. we have found that labels like ‘organic. is interesting in thinking and perception. Yet. and defiance of the visceral body we want to end by encouraging the expansion of this visceral approach to ever more remote corners of academic geography. we need to be aware of how representation and meaning can also ‘intervene in the molecular substrate of mood and emotion’ (McCormack 2007. pulling in some while pushing away or ‘chilling’ others (Guthman 2008). McCormack (2007). and although he makes a strong case for focusing on molecular affects at an unconscious or pre-conscious level. relation.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . the answer is. as our own research has shown us. we might question: isn’t making (conscious) sense of our lived experiences through meaning and representation itself a ‘molecular’ task? Certainly. and begin to negotiate our way through and beyond the dualisms of our socio-material world. to articulate political processes. trans- form or revolutionize. wherever we are moved. Related is the boundary between conscious and sub ⁄ unconscious action.’ and perceptions of certain foods as racially coded (i. speak up.1749-8198. 364). where we recognize the interconnection of thinking and being. Our own research has led us to the conclusion that geographic work demands attentiveness to the visceral realm. 364). where dispositions and discourses seem to relate as organic-synthetic plasma. Indeed.

Area 32 (1). Jessica received her PhD in Geography and Women’s Studies from Penn State University and her MA in Geography from the University of Vermont. Transactions (Institute of British Geographers) NS 30. Anderson. (2005). J. 225–233. Crang. (1994). and Philo. 733–752. 433–448. 353–365. Bondi. (2003). pp. and Hayes-Conroy.2010.1282 Visceral geographies co-authored papers in these areas for Transactions of…Gender. (2005). Hall. Both received BA’s in the Growth and Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College. 269–281. (2003). E. pp. New York: Routledge. and McCormack. Gibson-Graham. A. (1987). 1993–2017. pp. (1979). pp. Minneapolis: University of Min- nesota Press. and doing human geography: some reflections on the diary-photograph. J. J. Wheaton College. 414–422. Crang. An ethics of the local. (2002). and the affective logics of intervention. Hansen. Environment and Planning A 35. pp. Their current research continues their joint interest in bodies. Geoforum 38. geopolitics. pp. pp. pp. USA. and Environment and Planning A. (2006). 228–245. Emotionally intelligent research. P. Hetherington. Hayes-Conroy. diary-interview method. pp. L. N. 49–74. (2009). spaces and disability geography. brain and bones’: taking the body seriously in the geography of health and impairment. D. Thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. pp. The Professional Geographer 46 (1). Transactions of the Association of British Geographers 35. Women’s Studies and Environmental Studies. performance. E-mail: hayes-conroy_jessica@wheatonma. They are both currently working on an edited volume on Visceral Geographies. J.1749-8198. Note * Correspondence address: Jessica Hayes-Conroy. Rethinking Marxism 15 (1). Commentary: Get control of yourselves! The body as ObamaNation. Film. Practices of judgment and domestic geographies of affect. New York: Routledge. J. 387–397. pp. 26 East Main St. Journal of Economic and Social Geography 98 (4).00373. Allison has written two books on the culture of agricul- ture within suburban landscapes and Jessica has authored chapters therein. Materialising bodily matter: intra-action and the embodiment of ‘fat’. Research. 645–660. Hayes-Conroy. Environment and Planning A 35. J. The normality of doing things differently: bodies. Bourdieu. M. Carter. (2010). M. and Deborah. 21–29. pp. (1994). body politics. (2005). touch. and women: the re-invention of nature. 1020–1025. Place & Culture 15 (5). Social theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Bennett.1111/j. Colls. (1993). Brison. K. S. S. Simians. 10. M. (2002). J. Distinction: a social critique of the judgment of taste. (2007). pp.x Geography Compass ª 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd . Volatile bodies: toward a corporeal feminism. K. Guthman. E. (2007). Hayes-Conroy. Butler. Jessica is currently a visiting postdoctoral Mellon Fellow at Wheaton College and Allison is a visiting professor at Bryn Mawr College. Latham. MA 02766. and medical geography: extending Kearns invitation. (2004). Environment and Planning D 24. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Becoming and being hopeful: towards a theory of References Anderson. Grosz. Deleuze. and her MA in Geography from the Univer- sity of Hawai’i at Manoa. M. G. (2000). K. ª 2010 The Authors Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1273–1283. R. (2008). pp. Spatial textures: place. 461–473. B. cyborgs. Place and Culture. Qualitative methods: the new orthodoxy? Progress in Human Geography 26 (5). Area 36. (2008). ‘Blood. C. 493–506. A. The Professional Geographer 60 (3). pp. Gender. pp. Social and Cultural Geography 6. pp. (2006). food and progressive politics. Qualitative methods: there is nothing outside the text? Progress in Human Geography 29 (2). (1991). Dorn. Allison received her PhD in Geography from Clark University. 1933–1944. Political Geogra- phy 25 (2). and praesentia. D. Aftermath: violence and the remaking of a self. 647–655. J. Haraway. Environment and Planning A 41 (5). and Laws. A. food and visceral politics. Norton. F. Bodies that matter. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. G. (2003). Taking back taste: feminism. B. Making connections and thinking through emotions: between geography and psychotherapy. Mobilizing bodies: visceral identification in the slow food movement. and Guattari. pp. Geoforum. If they only knew: color blindness and universalism in California alternative food institutions. 106–110.

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