Everyday practices and structural change of subjects – risked bodies

Everyday practices and structural changes of subjects

Also in everyday life, transformations in concepts of the self and of others come along with the on-going societal transformation processes. Theoretically speaking, how do social structures behave in relation to everyday experiences? Empirically speaking, which practices do social subjects use in everyday life in order to hedge against the contradictory demands of their life choices? The following themes are dealt with: integrative and dissociative forces of consumer behaviour; childhood and child rearing with respect to the demands of love, care and work; routines of education in the tension field between parental responsibility and the educational monopoly of the state; interaction processes in youth cultures versus family-oriented lifestyles; normality and psychopathology as mental strategies of subjective hedging; risk behaviour as a mode of existence in extreme, uncertain situations in life; art installations in public spaces as an intervention strategy; image worlds of personal hedging in history; practices of subjective self-empowerment in everyday situations controlled by others.

Risked bodies

The interest in the body at the intersection of heterogeneous theory discourses has grown tremendously over the last few years. In these discourses, bodies are analysed as a pliable material subjected to dressing, norming and disciplinary procedures, and they are dealt with in their different forms with respect to expression, portrayal, imagination and representation. Bodies are robust, vulnerable, docile, useful, and they offer resistance. By seeking to withdraw from everyday demands, bodies mark the limits of their availability and represent a challenge to think fundamentally and differently.  

The research fields addressed are multi-layered and make up a broad spectrum ranging from evolution to performativity and re-enactment of the bodily presence through motion, emotion and sensuality. In relation to educational science, a series of questions has been opened up. How do conceptualisations, strategies and practices of power shape human bodies in their biographical relationships and how, even nowadays, do people resistively and creatively cope with these shapes and transfigurations? What is told by bodies in extreme situations in life and by bodies that have only survived by chance? Which forms of self-education emerge at the limits of what is humanly possible? How is “risk knowledge” generated? How does a society mould human bodies and how do these bodies influence the condition, sustenance and transformation of a society and their understanding of education and play?

When significant theoretical problems are to be examined on the basis of apparently trivial empirical objects, then, methodologically speaking, the extraordinary aspects in the experience of the risked bodies, which participate in mountain and extreme sports, should be portrayed and substantiated by means of the paradigm of historical anthropology. In this way generalizations dare be made about the destiny of historical and contemporary bodies of individuals in society.