Bodies carrying other bodies while performing other tasks

(to accompany lectures on Marcel Mauss's Techniques of the body ([1936])

Ask of the carrying body: who may carry? how? when and with whom? with what consequences (constraints on and openings for further action)?

Ask of the carrier technologies used by the carrying body: what is being used? how are those produced and distributed?

two ways to carry a child while leaving the hands free    
allows one to do something in front allows one to carry something on the back but may limit what can be done with the hands    
carrying the child on the hip without a carrier

another way to carry the infant on the hip with a carrier that still requires one hand.

Note that this is child who is carrying

on the back, with no other uses open for the hands (though the arm can be used to carry the bag)

on the shoulders leaving the hands free.

In the west this carrying mode is strongly gendered: most pictures on a simple search are of men



And also ask: what about the body that is being carried?

As Margaret Mead once put it: "for the babies of each society wriggle in a slightly different way, and one learns from observing the differences" (Mead [1942] 2000: 2).  By using the verb "wriggle" she suggests that she is not only talking about babies shaping their body but babies attempting to escape something uncomfortable (artificial, arbitrary, historically specific, etc.)

April 15, 2015