Advertisement

Cutting Space—Cutting Body: The Nature of the Grotesque in Umwelt

  • Kirill Maslov
  • Nikita Kharlamov
Commentary

Abstract

We give psychological elaboration to some of Rayner’s (2011) ideas. For the idea of a space and boundaries within it many psychological explanations are possible. We elaborate the boundaries as these occur in urban contexts as well as in the flow of irreversible time (between future and past). Shifting boundaries or any act of transforming them leads to changes in the understanding of the whole. Boundaries within space and between different fields—while having a physical existence—have also a symbolic component, which is specific to human beings. We reframe the dynamic concept of boundaries along the lines of Bergson’s idea of durée, which allows us conceptualize boundaries between bodies and environments, as well as boundaries in the environment, as ever transforming in spaces of ambiguity and, following Bakhtin, grotesque. This opens way for treating the boundary phenomena as functionally emerging in person-environment—or, in von Uexküll’s terms, organism-Umwelt relation. Following Heidegger, we conclude that through dynamic boundary-making we as species dwell in the world and make the world.

Keywords

Boundary Duration Space Umwelt Systems theory 

References

  1. Agamben, G. (2004). The open: Man and animal (K. Attell, Trans.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. (Original work published in 2002).Google Scholar
  2. Bakhtin, M. M. (1990). Tvorchestvo Fransua Rable i narodnaya kultura Srednevekovya i Renessansa [The Art of Rabelais and folk culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance]. Moscow: Khudozhestvennaya Literatura. [Firstly published in 1965].Google Scholar
  3. Bergson, H. (1908). L’évolution Créatrice (4th ed.). Paris: Felix Alcan.Google Scholar
  4. Bergson, H. (1944). Creative evolution. New York: The Modern Library [originally published in French in 1907].Google Scholar
  5. Heidegger, M. (1975). Building dwelling thinking (A. Hofstaedter, Trans.). In Poetry, language, thought (pp. 145–161). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  6. Luhmann, N. (2007). Vvedeniye v sistemnyuy teoriyu [An introduction to systems theory] (D. Baecker, Ed., K. Timofeeva, Trans.). Moscow, Russia: Logos. (Original work published in 2002).Google Scholar
  7. Magnus, R., & Kull, K. (2011). Roots of culture in the Umwelt. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Oxford handbook of culture and psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Marsico, G. (2011). The ‘non-cuttable’ space in between: context, boundaries and their natural fluidity. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 45, 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Maruyama, M. (1963). The second cybernetics: deviation-amplifying mutual causal processes. The American Scientist, 51, 164–179.Google Scholar
  10. Pierce, C. S. (1892). The law of mind. Monist, 2, 533–559.Google Scholar
  11. Rayner, A. D. (2011). Space cannot be cut. Why self-identity naturally includes neighbourhood. Integrative Psychological and Behavioural Sciences. doi: 10.1007/s12124-011-9154-y.Google Scholar
  12. Stiker, H.-J. (1999). A history if disability. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  13. Tillich, P. (1966). On the Boundary: An autobiographical sketch. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  14. Valsiner, J. (2000). Culture and human development: An introduction. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Viskovatoff, A. (1999). Foundations of Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 29, 481–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. von Uexküll, J. (1982). The theory of meaning. Semiotica, 42, 25–82 (Original work published in 1940).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. von Uexküll, J. (1992). A stroll through the worlds of animals and men: a picture book of invisible worlds. Semiotica, 89, 319–391 (Original work published in 1934).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Clark UniversityWorcesterUSA

Personalised recommendations