Subjectivity is always embodied subjectivity, which emerges as a versatile product of biographical experiences, overdetermined by historical and geopolitical power structures. Social norms and common sense, habitual practices of daily life and sophisticated disciplining shape embodiments and define which bodies count as healthy and highly productive, as male or as female, as disciplinable or as resistant. Yet, it is also the other way round: binary gender difference, health, or whiteness operate as normative ideals that gain power through being embodied and performed.
Nevertheless, embodied subjectivity is also a potential source and site of resistance. It might evolve from discrepancies between expectation and experience, or from failures of complying with aesthetic or ableist ideals. It is exactly because body norms – to be healthy, to be beautiful, to be disciplined, to be gendered – are so varied and numerous, that they intermingle and interfere and possibly contradict each other. In how far do such interferences or contradictions open up space for bodily resistance? What would it mean to say that a body develops a creative stubbornness, or inhabits a subversive counter-world?
The challenge consists in taking embodiment as a starting point for analysing heteronormative, racist, classist, anti-Semitic, and disabling power dynamics. Which alternative modes of embodiment develop from queer crip theory or the mutual exchange between critical disability and queer studies? Or from strategies of decolonizing racialized embodied subjectivities?