The Normative Body and the Embodiment of Norms

Bridging the Gap Between Phenomenological and Foucauldian Approaches

Maren Wehrle


Phenomenologically speaking, one can consider the experiencing body as normative insofar as it generates norms through repeated actions and interactions, crystallizing into habits. On the other hand according to Foucauldian approaches, the subjective body does not generate norms but is itself produced by norms: Dominant social norms are incorporated via repeated practices of discipline. How is the individual level of habit formation in phenomenology related to this embodiment of supra-individual norms? In what sense can we differentiate between a habit formation that results in a skill and one that disciplines a body? To address these questions the paper will analyze examples of the embodiment of norms in Foucault and feminist philosophy and show how they rely on the phenomenological concept of the actual and habitual body.

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The Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy is a forum for philosophers and academics from China, Germany, and Europe. It facilitates exchange between academic cultures and develops joint fields of research while also consolidating and coordinating social-scientific ties and research projects. A focus is placed on Eastern and Western philosophical traditions as well as on topics in religious studies, cultural studies, politics, and law.