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IntercorporealityEmerging Socialities in Interaction$
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Christian Meyer, J Streeck, and J. Scott Jordan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190210465

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210465.001.0001

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Taking the World by Hand

Taking the World by Hand

How (Some) Gestures Mean

(p.173) 7 Taking the World by Hand

Elena Cuffari

Jürgen Streeck

Oxford University Press

Pairing interpretation of philosophical texts with microanalysis of video data, this essay examines some particular ways that hand gestures enable embodied meaning making and sharing. The point of departure is Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s statement that gesture is the initial basis by which a subject lives and signifies. Intercorporeality and interpretive effort then become the basis of interactive meaning making. Meaning emerges when hand gestures, as intercorporeal acts, reflect and reflexively alter the constituting norms, perspectives, and possibilities found in a given space. This double movement is appropriative and disclosive—hand gestures must fit to a given world of meaning even as they take hold of and form it. Explaining this common feature of distinct gesture ecologies leads to a number of conclusions for the study of language.

Keywords:   gesture ecology, intercorporeal, Merleau-Ponty, appropriative disclosure, video analysis

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