37th World Congress of the International Instititute of Sociology

The first real news has all happened today. First I will be presenting my paper “Breathing Like a Soldier” in Stockholm Sweden in the Embodying Sociology Session. I will be discussing how the soldier’s seemingly bizarre world of asceticism, suffering, and limit pushing is made sensible through the conversion of the soldiers body from civilian to martial. I will lay out how the situation of the novice who is trying to “make do” in an objective economy of practices comes to transform his corporeal scheme through the embodiment of techniques du corp, such as styles of breathing, and how this then changes how that world is experienced. In this sense I argue that breathing is both a disposition for action, a readiness of the body to act in terms of conditioning of the respiratory system and as a habit for regulating breathing to stimulate the body for dexterous activity or to calm it as a platform for deploying weapons. On the other hand the incorporation of techniques for breahting as habit, the result of engagment in drills for fitness and for marksmanship, acts as a form of incarnate knowledge to the extent that the world is immediatly apprehended in terms of the bodies readiness and capability for action.