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Body, Geography of

  • By: Dana Sprunk
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The Cartesian dualism between mind (associated with reason and masculinity) and body (associated with passion and femininity) had an immense impact also in geographical thinking and research. The mind is favored over the body because it is the mind that distinguishes human beings from animals and machines. This idea led to an Othering of the body that favored mental issues over corporeal issues, excluding from the geographical agenda those areas of research that explicitly focused on the “dirty”—that is, the corporeal side of life as present in questions of disability, gender, age, poverty, or “race.” However, despite being erased from explicit scientific theorization, the body existed implicitly as an “absent presence.” That is to say, the emphasis on the mind needed some sort of contrast ...

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