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Goldsmiths - University of London

Stanislavsky’s system as an enactive guide to embodied cognition?

Clare, Ysabel. 2016. Stanislavsky’s system as an enactive guide to embodied cognition? Connection Science, pp. 1-21. ISSN 0954-0091 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper presents a model of the structure of subjective experience derived from the work of Konstantin Stanislavsky, and demonstrates its usefulness as a functional framework of enacted cognitive embodiment by using it to articulate his approach to the process of acting. Research into Stanislavsky’s training exercises reveals that they evoke a spatial adpositional conceptualisation of experience. When reflected back onto the practice from which it emerges, this situates the choices made by actors as contributing towards the construction of a stable attention field with which they enter into relationship during performance. It is suggested that the resulting template might clarify conceptual distinctions between practices at the unconscious level, and a brief illustrative comparison between Stanislavsky’s and Meisner’s practices is essayed. A parallel is drawn throughout with the basic principles of embodied cognition, and correlations found with aspects of Dynamic Field Theory and Wilson’s notions of “on-” and “off-line” processing.

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Identification Number (DOI):


Embodied cognition, spatial adpositional, Stanislavsky, acting, attention field

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


28 December 2016Published Online
20 November 2016Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Jan 2017 17:26

Last Modified:

29 Dec 2017 02:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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