Date of Award

1-1-2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty

Faculty of Regional Professional Studies

Abstract

This work presents my attempt to constitute and articulate a praxis of embodied knowledge production; embodied both in the sense of the knowledge produced, and the manner of its production. My recipe for this presentation has incorporated auto/biographical writings as a hermeneutic tool, and draws on connections I have made between a wide range of feminist, poststructuralist and postmodern insights. These have included work on subjectivity, on the praxis of graphing embodied autos, on embodied writing practices and technes, on emotion, and on the 'reality' of knowledge, exploring the relationships between ontology, epistemology, politics and ethics. I have indulged my ‘self’, through the introduction of eccentric texts, from letters, novels, emails, poetry, artworks and performances, in ways which are intended to illuminate the manner and value of their contributions to a given knowledge/meaning making process. Part 1, it has come to this . . . problematizes the ontological status of embodied knowledge-production; it describes 'clippings made flesh', and demonstrates strategies aimed at the deflection or inversion of traditional specular analyses. It traces the process of youthful evangelizing, and of a desire to theorize sexed, embodied experience as of socio-political validity. Stanley's writing on feminist auto/biography instils a 'rejection of the 'spotlight' approach to a single individual', and the 'difficult pleasure' implicit in finding textual lenses to deflect the spotlight, and using representation to convey a 'productive, always partial and temporally indexed . . . composite of temporary constellations' is recognized. Part 2, exploring visual impairment, bas been a feminist performance of making meaning of the embodied experience of visual loss, and interrogates phenomenology's 'unsexed' body in this context. Part 3, toxic politicking: a Hestian dilemma, uses the experience of chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S., or M.E.) to explore the 'translations' of embodiment between sexed bodies, and encounters knowledge grounded in the experience of 'other than human' bodies, rethinking boundaried notions of ethics, truth and morality. Part 4, perverse production, examines a range of perverse productions, 'shot through' with images of a woman academic dean who chooses to produce her body otherwise in a Western Australian country town. These considerations lead to theorizing the productions of contemporary biotechnology. Part 5, a climacteric, recognizes the emotional honesty required for embodied knowledge-production when early experiences of sexual abuse and religious fundamentalism are re-activated in the manner of a 'virus', in a global socio-political context of the stark prominence of both child sexual abuse and religious fundamentalism as forms and progenitors of violence. An unresolved concern to understand the different embodimindment of an autism spectrum condition remains. Part 6 considers connections and redirections in orientation to ontological territories and their constituent realities, and incorporates recipes for therapy and for theory, as they relate to auto/biographical praxis. The 'truth-claims' implicit in this work, and the 'analysis' it generates, inhere in its representational practices: 'text' is in context, and it tells the realities of 'chance, randomness, openendedness and becoming'. No specular analysis of these collections is undertaken; there is an attitude of respect for the reader and their process of meaning-making, an attitude which 'expects the unexpected'. This text is bricolage, combining 'glancing' perceptions and scraps of reality to produce embodied knowledge as 'strings of tinglings': it relishes the infinite possibilities of new ways of 'knowing' embodiment.

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