Building Castles in the Sand: Repositioning Touch on the Beach

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    Abstract

    This article develops insights into the haptic geographies of sandcastles and sunbathing. The aim is to produce a livelier account of the beach that incorporates a sense of performativity and enjoyment, breaking with the occulocentrism that dominates social sciences. While acknowledging the importance of vision, this paper affirms the centrality of touch and its significance in the production of feeling. My concern is with haptic articulations of the sensible that draw away from a solely visual interpretation of the beach. Touch offers the possibility of bringing life, sensation, and enjoyment back to the beach, unlocking and animating some of its potentialities. Touch also provides a valuable route to reinvest this space with texture and praesentia, along with a sense of the creative and the performative. This article, which draws on ethnographic research conducted on the island of Menorca (Spain), analyses two kinds of haptic sensuality: the highly manipulative and playful version of touch enacted in the building of sandcastles and the more elusive tactile experience of sunbathing
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-210
    JournalThe Senses & Society
    Volume4
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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