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Towards an anthropology of gravity: Emotion and embodiment in microgravity environments

Parkhurst, A; Jeevendrampillai, D; (2020) Towards an anthropology of gravity: Emotion and embodiment in microgravity environments. Emotion, Space and Society , 35 , Article 100680. 10.1016/j.emospa.2020.100680.

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Abstract

Human space travel has largely been understood through a physiological and psychological lens but rarely sociologically or anthropologically. Drawing on astronaut testimony, experiences of microgravity environments, laboratory experiments and art practice this paper argues that gravity, or rather its absence, offers a unique vantage point through which to consider the human relationship to emotion, cognition, and the curation of social relations via experiences of the body in different gravitational environments. The analysis draws attention to the contextual, embodied and contingent moments of social relations through using a holistic materialist position with theories of affect and work on the anthropology of the body. An anthropology of gravity recognises the ethno-physical conditions of space-living by showing that microgravity environments disturb the habitual affective landscapes of human interaction. It suggests that body, emotion, social relations and environment can be better understood when they are contextualised by the underlying forces that operate subtly throughout them; forces that are more fully understood once they are no longer present.

Type: Article
Title: Towards an anthropology of gravity: Emotion and embodiment in microgravity environments
DOI: 10.1016/j.emospa.2020.100680
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2020.100680
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: The body, Gravity, Anthropology, Movement, Affect, Outerspace
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098090
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