Anthropology of proprioception: Endurance and collectivity on unstable grounds in postrevolutionary Cairo

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    3 Scopus citations


    In this article, I turn from the anthropology of resistance to an anthropology of proprioception. I draw on the concept of proprioception—conscious awareness of the body in space—to provide conceptual language for rethinking collective agency in the long aftermath of mass revolt. I bring proprioception together with the concept of barzakh, or estuary, as interpreted by Ibn ‘Arabi (1165–1240) and Abou El Fetouh (2015), to consider different groundings of collective movement. I do so, for one thing, because of a lingering individualism of the body in formulations of resistance and because of the urgency of thinking collectivity together with ground in times of climate emergency. I draw from debates about collectivity and ground in Egypt, the Middle East, and the broader region of the former Ottoman Empire to make my arguments about why this matters for anthropology. I think this through with ethnographic material from Cairo over the span of 1996–2019, focusing less on conversation and interaction in a particular location than on interactions in movement, across and down the street, and among interlocutors in fields of anthropology, physiology, and social theory in nineteenth-century Great Britain, the United States, and Egypt.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)525-535
    Number of pages11
    JournalAmerican Anthropologist
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 2022

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


    • embodiment
    • history of thought
    • Middle East
    • mobility
    • revolt


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