A haptic geography of the beach: naked bodies, vision and touch

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    103 Citations (Scopus)


    The beach and the naked body are a casualty of the idealism that dominates social sciences. Despite the resurgence of work on embodiment, very few accounts have actually explored the centrality of the body on the beach. Drawing on ethnographic research on the island of Menorca (Spain), this article focuses on practices of nudity on the beach. Instead of giving priority to the representation and meaning of nudity, I am primarily concerned with how it feels to be nude and how nudity is experienced. I want to produce a lively account of the nude beach that makes space for sensuality and enchantment. To this end, I affirm the primacy of the haptic sense on the beach, thus balancing touch and sight, the proximal and the distal, the performative and the representational. Touch offers the opportunity to develop insights into the elusive experience of the beach, the expressive and ethical character of nudism and the interlacing of the body and the environment. The aims of this article are inspired by non-representational approaches in geography. This article attempts to develop this multivarious way of thinking and working in empirically orientated research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-141
    JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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