On Breath and Breathing: A Concluding Comment

Timothy Ingold* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
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    To conclude the discussion of breath and breathing in the foregoing contributions, this comment sets out from a critical perspective on embodiment. For a being that breathes out and in, should we not add to embodiment its complement of vaporisation? Breath, after all, is fluid, animate and fundamental to human conviviality. While it can temporarily be put on hold, breath cannot be contained. That is why bodily breathing is unlike the ventilation of buildings. Moreover, breathing in and breathing out are dissimilar movements which cannot be reversed. This presents particular problems for those with breathing difficulties, above all in societies where speech, carried on the outbreath, is modelled on print, and where thought is attributed to a self whose powers of cognition transcend bodily experience. In place of the complementarity of self and body, we posit the soul as a vortex in which breathing, thinking, speech and song all flow into one another.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)158-167
    Number of pages10
    JournalBody & Society
    Issue number2
    Early online date27 Apr 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Open Access via SHEDL Sage Agreement


    • animacy
    • breath
    • embodiment
    • soul
    • speech


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