Staying in Touch

Furse, Anna F. D.. 2021. Staying in Touch. Teoriia Mody: Odezhda, Telo, Kulʹtura [Fashion Theory: Dress, Body and Culture](62), pp. 25-44. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper – that draws from and elaborates on a 2011 chapter ‘Being Touched’ – explores the touch sense today in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, from its cultural, physical, social, psychological affects and meanings as well as the semantics of the term itself in the English language and what this reveals. If as Classen proposes, touch might be the “hungriest sense of post modernity” (Classen, 2005, p.2) in normal society, during the pandemic this reached levels of global famine. Introducing Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas on ‘haptic’ space and how they comprehend space as ‘smooth’ or ‘striated’ , I use their metaphors to compare and contrast two diametrically differing dance forms; classical ballet and Contact Improvisation (CI). The latter opens to discussion of Asian martial art forms that influenced the development of CI. I conclude with my central purpose in this piece: to suggest that touch, when read from an interdisciplinary perspective, might register as a sense with far-reaching significance beyond either its physiological or psychological connotations; and when practised professionally offers an alternative social model to hierarchical power relationships on the one hand, and might counter the undermining affect of a technological capitalist society on individual experience.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


15 August 2021Accepted
December 2021Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

01 Dec 2021 11:55

Last Modified:

29 Dec 2021 11:42

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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