Refrains for Moving Bodies

Experience and Experiment in Affective Spaces

Refrains for Moving Bodies

Book Pages: 280 Illustrations: 17 photographs Published: January 2014

Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Geography, Theater and Performance

In Refrains for Moving Bodies, Derek P. McCormack explores the kinds of experiments with experience that can take place in the affective spaces generated when bodies move. Drawing out new connections between thinkers including Henri Lefebvre, William James, John Dewey, Gregory Bateson, Félix Guattari, and Gilles Deleuze, McCormack argues for a critically affirmative experimentalism responsive to the opportunities such spaces provide for rethinking and remaking maps of experience. Foregrounding the rhythmic and atmospheric qualities of these spaces, he demonstrates the particular value of Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the "refrain" for thinking and diagramming affect, bodies, and space-times together in creative ways, putting this concept to work to animate empirical encounters with practices and technologies as varied as dance therapy, choreography, radio sports commentary, and music video. What emerges are geographies of experimental participation that perform and disclose inventive ways of thinking within the myriad spaces where the affective capacities of bodies are modulated through moving.


"The book ends as it started, in a happy muddle of geography’s interactions with other disciplines, allowing for a string of example/experiences as a coda and refrain of earlier chapters, this time tying together choreography and GPS." — Joe Grobelny, Itineration

"McCormack’s adroit reworkings ought to signal new points of attachment, new senses of the possible and the compatible. In all these ways, however modest, Refrains for Moving Bodies is textually and practically a book of openings, and it should be read as such." — Peter Ekman, Social & Cultural Geography

Refrains for Moving Bodies is a thought-provoking conceptual and empirical engagement with the relationship between bodies and space.... [It] provides an enlivened approach to doing geography through movement and thus has enormous potential to make a significant impact on scholarship on bodies, performance and practice.” — Charlotte Veal, Cultural Geographies

“McCormack undertakes a rigorous analysis of the potential of experimentation in space and affect, revealing Debord’s briefly articulated vision to be a rich area of research with implications for dance and performance studies, affect studies, urban studies, and geography, as well as their theoretical and practical intersections.” — Laura D. Vriend, Dance Research Journal

"The ability to weave between lengthy theoretical considerations and vivid recollections of relationally specific, embodied practices make this book a welcome contribution to existing literature in affect theory, cultural geography and theories of embodiment." — Kallee Lins, Theatre Research International

"Derek P. McCormack is interested in the lines of influence that bodies trace out and how they produce scaffoldings and architectures which perform different possibilities differently. Such an art of experiment has rarely been articulated so clearly or so forcefully as in this book and it provides an agenda for a different way of doing geography, as movement but also trance, as prose but also rhyme, as maps that morph and dissimulate but also provide guidelines. The book is rich in the kind of cloudy inspiration that makes you want to think more about more. Brilliant." — Nigel Thrift, coauthor of Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left

"In this precise, lyrical, inventive, and rigorous book, Derek P. McCormack rethinks how affective spaces are generated by and for moving bodies, creating new conceptions of spaces and our relationship to them. Clear and generative, Refrains for Moving Bodies is a significant contribution to cultural geography, philosophy, dance, and performance studies." — Erin Manning, author of Always More Than One: Individuation's Dance


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Derek P. McCormack is University Lecturer in Human Geography at the School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford, where he is also a Fellow of Mansfield College.

Table of Contents Back to Top


Introduction. Affective Spaces for Moving Bodies

1. Transitions: For Experimenting (with) Experience

2. Rhythmic Bodies and Affective Atmospheres

3. Diagramming Refrains: A Chapter with an Interest in Rhythm

4. Ecologies of Therapeutic Practice

5. Commentating. Semiconducting Affective Atmospheres

6. Moving Images for Moving Bodies

7. Choreographing Lived Abstractions

8. Promising Participation



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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5505-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5489-5
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