Journal for the Anthropological Study of Human Movement | Vol. 24 No. 2 | DRID WILLIAMS: Signifying Bodies, Signifying Acts: New Ways of Thinking about Human Movement: Chapter 3: Signifying Acts

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Signifying Bodies, Signifying Acts: New Ways of Thinking about Human Movement


Chapter 3: Signifying Acts

Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less, as I never think about them.
                            Charles Lamb, in a letter to Thomas Manning, 2 January, 1810

Preview Questions

1. Semasiology's 'form space' is often referred to by other names. Are these names merely word glosses for traditional concepts of the body and space?

2. How can one best think of the spaces internal to any given dance or sign system?

3. How are models and analogies used in semasiology? Why are they important?

4. What does 'performativity' mean?

5. Is the idea of the universality of movement a problem?

The main road to real knowledge of human signifying acts is by way of identification. To identify something means first, to recognize and then, to establish what something is, or that it is what it is.1 With regard to formal or informal human performances, identifying them means apperceiving2 the time/spaces in which performances take place. In semasiology, such knowledge is characterized by a developed conception of the form space of a dance, a signed conversation, a ceremony, everyday interactions, or what-you-will.

     Understanding how human acts signify is to understand the spaces in which they exist, for there is no such thing as time/space in a simple physical sense.

Time and space are conceptual, moral and ethical before they are physical. If the selection of time and space indexes is reduced to the utilitarian (as it usually is), the actor is essentially disembodied, at best one-dimensional, with no real motive, in Weber's sense of motive. The social dimensions that could come into being remain invisible, like the ten or eleven dimensions curled up inside molecule-sized universes in some recent cosmological theories. Williams makes it clear that cosmological space or metaphysical space or dramatic space all emerge performatively from the enactment of self, just as a promise or threat unfolds from the words, nuances, and intonations of the self in the moment of utterance, enclosing a world of action. The meaning of all subsequent action . . . flows from that moment. (Urciuoli 1995: 194–95—italics added).

     In semasiological research, 'form space' has many different names, for example, it has been referred to as the liturgical space (L-space) of the Dominican Tridentine Mass, written as L = (e,w,n,s) in Williams (1995: 62–64). It is the E-space (exercise space) of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, that is; E = (S,W,N,E) (Williams 1995: 59–62). It is the 'signing space' and/or 'performance space' of Plains Sign Talk (Farnell 1995a: 226–29) and, seen in connection with "the facilitating conditions of agency," the enactment space of any action sign system whatsoever (Varela 1993: 244). Investigators have a wide range of choices for naming the form space of whatever system they study. They should choose terminology that fits the characteristics of the system and their own writing style. In 1972, the concept of form space was originally developed with reference to dances.

     The form space of a dance is best thought of as a pattern of relationships among the dancers. It is the space internal to the dance. It is a dynamic pattern of forces that, if it could be seen all at once instead of unfolding through time, would constitute the total 'shape' or 'form' of the dance (Williams 1972: 204ff). For the purposes of identifying the form space of a dance, a paramorphic model3 of an electromagnetic field was used.

Articulated Spaces

Euclidean space is by definition homogeneous, but if we think of it as articulated––as, for example, by a group of dancers or a magnetic field, then distinctions can be made between the articulated space inside the field and the space outside the field. The space inside the field is the form space (or 'performance space,' 'signing space,' 'enactment space,' etc.) of the system under examination.

     The form space of a dance is analogous to an electromagnetic field in important ways:

1. An electromagnetic field is not homogeneous.

la. An articulated dance space is not homogeneous.4

2. An electromagnetic field, like a dance, is neither neutral nor empty.

2a. An electromagnetic field is not suited to more common ideas of time and measurement that are associated with Cartesian spaces, which are analogous to empty homogeneous containers, extending upwards, say, from two-dimensional surfaces, such as billiard tables. Similarly, an articulated dance space does not lend itself to commonly used ideas of time and measurement.

Fields of Complementary Oppositions

In the form space of a dance––which is an energy-filled field of oppositions––it is not ordinary modes of computing time and distance that are important, but 'forces' that are both apperceived and experienced. Intensity, energy, and force are not simple matters of metrical distances and velocity, as, for example in the measurement of arrow and bullet trajectories, nor are they explainable only in these terms.

     Intensity, energy, and force in a field situation are dependent upon the nature of the bodies involved, whether the bodies are charged particles or the signifying bodies of dancers.

     Readers must understand that analogies and models are used only to illustrate and clarify. Although the process may seem somewhat tedious, extended explanation is justified on the grounds that the object of discourse must be identified.5

Models, analogies and metaphors are closely related, though not identical tools for rational thought. At this point I want to draw a distinction, in passing, between models merely as the source of picturesque terminology, and models as the source of genuine science-extending existential hypotheses. A model for something, be it thing or process, can be described in the language of simile as a thing or process analogous to that of which it is a model. (Harré 1970: 47—italics added)

Electromagnetic fields and the form spaces of dances are not subsets of one another. They are not the same, but, they both exist in the real world and both are subsets of Euclidean space.

     What happens in a dance is like the flow of forces observable in a bounded volume containing a number of electrostatically charged bodies. Before we get to the model itself, there are three important points to consider about electromagnetic fields:

1. An electrostatically charged particle in space experiences a force at any given point in space that results from the presence of other electrostatically charged particles;

2. At each point in this space it is possible to associate a vector with the particle which represents the magnitude and direction of the force proportionately related to the force that the particle will experience at that point in space. The value of force is derivable for the potential function associated with the total field, of course. The potential function is logically deduced from the force field, and the force field is empirically prior to the potential field.

3. This analogy includes all of the common ideas of fields, i.e., electric, gravitational, and magnetic, but in the presentation of the analogy, other forces like gravitation are excluded from direct consideration, first, because it has already been alluded to and, second, because an electric field is at once contained in the expression of the present analogy and because separate consideration of electricity and/or gravity would add nothing of any particular value.

The Model

Imagine a spherically bounded volume containing a number of electrostatically charged bodies, for example, charged spheres, that are all charged with the same sign (all positive or all negative). Then, because all of the forces acting on the spheres and the boundary (also charged with the same sign) act in relation to one another, motion occurs––movement becomes apparent, both among the spheres and between them and the boundary.

     If we imagine all of the spheres except one to be static (fixed), as the boundary is also fixed, then all the forces (say, they are negative or repulsive) acting on the free sphere will cause the free sphere to move without coming into contact with any of the static spheres or the charged boundary.

     If we were to observe the actual movement of the free sphere, we could intuit a general feeling for the intensities of the force field and we could see the 'form' that it articulates in the bounded volume. Coincident with this description, readers are expected to make further effort, described below.

1. Aligning the Model with a Dance.

Imagine a dance entitled Antagonisms occurring on a stage set with two or three abstract, sculptured forms to which a choreographer has assigned values of 'good,' 'evil,' and 'indifference.' A solo dancer performs a dance on this set, seeming to be attracted, repelled, paralyzed, elated, or whatever through proximity with the sculpted forms. This dance is closely analogous to the electromagnetic field situation previously described.

     Now, if we imagine all the spheres free to move in the force field, we have a situation where the electromagnetic field will fluctuate and vary in time, and we can still intuit from the movements of the spheres, something of the intensities of the field at particular crucial points. In view of this, we can imagine two of the spheres moving toward each other, then veering off because of the intensity of their like attractive or repulsive charges. Moreover, by imagining both positively and negatively charged spheres, we can visualize two operative forces: those of attraction and repulsion.

     A stage full of freely moving dancers is analogous to this field situation, except for the important fact that dancers know where they are going, how they are getting there, and what they are doing. Presumably, charged spheres do not.

     Because a danced form space is not an empty, homogeneous space, but a living, non-homogeneous space inhabited and initiated by active agents, the field analogy is the best paramorphic model of what goes in 'inside' a dance. Similarly, it is the best model of the exercise space of a martial art, or the liturgical spaces of rituals, the form spaces of plays and all dramatic performances, signed conversations, and, indeed, any other kind of human interaction.

2. Domains of Spatial Oppositions

In agreement with Ogden (1967 [1932]), semasiologists affirm the idea that the primary origin of all human spatial distinctions is the human body. Because of this, there are several domains of spatial oppositions that may be dealt with. For example, one aspect of dynamic opposition is rhythm, which can be expressed by augmentation and diminution, increase and decrease––even, as Ogden points out, by acquisition and loss (1967 [1932]: 44).

     All properties of forceful oppositions can carry meaning in a dance, just as where the dancer is at any given moment (expressing positional, orientational, and relational oppositions in the dance space) can carry meaning. The semantic contents thus conveyed to an audience, however, are not logically dichotomous meanings. A dance is not a logical dichotomy;6 a dance is a logical construct. How, then, do semasiologists conceive of the dynamic field of complementary oppositions that is 'a dance'?

     'A dance' is something like a force field that fluctuates and varies in time. It is possible to intuit from the movements of the dancers and the pattern of interacting forces, something about the intensities and the attractive and repelling forces at particular crucial moments. In the field analogy, only two forces were apparent (positive and negative). Sometimes in a dance, only two forces are apparent, however, many other forces are frequently brought into play: excitation, paralysis, volatility, quiescence, augmentation, diminution, contraction, release, and such.

     From a human, agentive point of view, dancers continually find themselves in active fields of forces (dances) that are usually created by choreographers, but that can be created and performed by their own selves. Dances may include 'forces' of many kinds, whether they have electromagnetic analogies or not.

     Each dancer contributes to the field––the form space––of a dance. The actual articulations of their bodies, their positions and movements, are influenced by the pattern of forces that the total form space of the dance represents. To imagine charges in an electromagnetic field carried out, not on charged particles or small metal spheres, but on flexible, human, signifying bodies whose articulations and motion can vary at will is to visualize what happens in the form space (the total four-dimensional 'shape') of a dance.

3. 'Emergent Performativity'

In her exegesis of three bows,7 Williams explicates emergent performativity. . . .8 There is no more reason to assume that the three bows are equivalent than there is to assume that three homonyms have the same meaning. There are three different sets of constitutive relations and so three semasiologically different acts emerge. This point is likely to be missed if the analyst makes a falsely iconic equation. The three bows are not only parts of different systems but are performatively very different. Each bow unfolds a different reality, a universe peculiar to its own system. . . . Williams directly links the unfolding of space and time to an unfolding of person (Urciuoli 1995: 194 italics added).

In the next chapter the three bows are explained in detail, thus it will become clear why "three different semasiologically different acts emerge" and how the unfolding of space/time is connected with an unfolding of person.9 For now, we are less concerned with ethnography than we are with the performativity of human signifying acts.

     Before going on, it is important to realize that "formalization is not a necessary aspect of embodied performativity" (Urciuoli 1995: 195). Critics have said, "What you talk about seems to work with reference to dances, rituals and formal systems of action, but those are special. They seem unconnected with the actions non-specialists perform in daily life."

     Formalized actions are intimately connected with actions in daily life because, from our standpoint, human actions are always involved in performed worlds, no matter where or when they are found. Performativity emerges in the interplay of words and actions among a group of neighborhood women or men gossiping over coffee in someone's house, in the neighborhood bar, or over the back fence; among a group of people standing around a water cooler in an office; in the variety of styles developed for the purpose of aesthetic communication among urban black children (Friedland 1995: 136–57); in any kind of team game or competition (Hall 1996: 251–66); or in Egyptian films and television (Franken 1996: 267–86)—in any human situation whatsoever, even when one is alone.

     The essential point should be clear by now: all human action sign systems are human ways of being. They express human conceptions of living and being––and these conceptions directly influence performed actions. Used as intended, the concept of form space and its designators are points of entry through which researchers enter into the prevailing local theories of self, person, and reality that are relevant to the system or systems under examination.

     Signifying acts are always tied to ideas about what it is to be human, what the world is like, what is permissible (and what is not), who is powerful (and who is not), and so on through the whole gamut of all theoretically possible human experience, but it is precisely here that we encounter obstacles.

Whose Semantics?

Critics have said that semasiologists' insistence upon defining words, actions, and spaces in local terms displays "nit-picking" tendencies, or they say, "it's just semantics." Unfortunately, I've never been able to work out what the 'just' implies. Bold enough to ask, "What do you mean by 'just semantics'?" the reply is usually unsatisfactory: "Oh come off it," someone says, "you know what I mean." Stupid though I may appear to be, I must say that I don't know what is meant because it isn't a simple matter of single word definitions that is at stake. Readers may recall the discussion of hand-shaking (chap. 2, para. 35–53, this issue).

     If all that's at stake is a disagreement that can be solved by consulting a dictionary, then the phrase 'just semantics' is justifiable––but talk at that level is a kid's game. Concepts like 'form space' (and the models and analogies necessary to identify and describe what it is), isn't a kid's game. For a start,

Once we enter the human zone, we are dealing with classes of action. Unfortunately, we are not the main classifiers. That position is occupied by the human beings who are acting. It is always the major task in social anthropology to find the actors' classification. This is not quite the same as asking him why he is acting. (Ardener 1989 [1973]: 107—italics added)

Roughly twenty-five years ago, I wrote,

I have in front of me now an essay which I am asked to comment upon for publication. It is a fairly good essay, rather better written than most, by someone who obviously has excellent intentions and who is doing her best to say something about a West African people whose religion and beliefs are living, vibrant and real––as her own probably are not. The author has tried very hard (and her efforts are plain to see) to be as faithful to her research and the people about whom she writes as she can, yet the essay is sprinkled—as with a pepper-shaker––with terms like ['behavior'], 'dichotomy,' 'kinetic,' 'standardized,' 'dutifully,' 'deified,' 'mythical' and many more. One's eyes, and mind, are irritated––as by pepper––with these terms. How would they translate, if indeed, they would at all, into the spoken language of the people concerned? Are these the terms that most faithfully represent the space/time concepts they have? . . . While I will endorse the publication of her work, I wonder how this author would characterize her relation with the society she writes about? (Williams 1991 [1976]: 312–13)

We often mistranslate phrases from other societies because we identify something from our own culture that we imagine we hear or see in 'their' culture. Is this kind of mistranslation 'just semantic?' Chapman's comments about translation (chap. 2, para. 54–64) are certainly applicable here.

The Universality of Movement and Gesture

Probably everyone is familiar with instances where gestures and movements have not successfully transmitted intended messages. One of my favorite anecdotes is about an American English teacher's experience in Japan:

I thought I could always rely on hand gestures and signs when the going got rough. . . . But I quickly learned that they never worked as well as I had hoped. None of my hosts knew my sign language. One time when I pointed to my chest with my forefinger to indicate 'me,' I was shown to the bathroom because to the Japanese that same gesture means 'I want a bath.' The Japanese point their fingers to their noses to mean 'me.' (Simmons 1983: 107)

     Not so amusing and (regrettably) somewhat damaging to my reputation as a movement expert in Australia was this experience:

Six months after arriving in Australia in 1986, I was treated to a prolonged display over three days of approximately 26 film clips of varying length and diversity on Aboriginal dancing. The most highly prized of the lot was a short stretch of a man dancing somewhere in the Torres Strait Islands at the tum of the century. No one seemed to know what the name of the dance was [who the man was, or anything about the context in which the dance took place]. I recall looking at this (and all of the films) with mixed feelings, because I wasn't sure of the purpose of the extended viewing sessions. The films were offered with no accompanying explanatory materials, except for a few titles and credits. There were no written [or spoken] explanations by the investigators [or the camera operators] who had taken them. Apparently, the notion that film documentation by itself is enough has been around for a long time. It is a misconception that appears to be worldwide. (Williams 1996: 209)

Tied to this misconception is another: the universality of movement. While it is true that human movement is universal in the sense that all (living) human beings move and they all have the same number of bodily members, joint articulation, and available spatial dimensions within which to carry out their movements, it is not true that their gestures and movements––even those that appear to be the same––mean the same. Semasiology has two theoretical levels that accommodate unity and diversity: (1) structural invariants (i.e., structural 'universals') and (2) semantic variants (culture-specific signifying acts and systems of actions).

     At the end of the first day of viewing ethnographic films in Australia, I felt like someone who has listened to a series of lectures in several foreign languages––none of which I spoke or understood. At the end of the second day, I had exhausted all comments I could make regarding structural descriptions of the endless stream of filmed movement. At the end of the third day, I was fatigued and overcome with boredom. I made a poor impression upon my hosts who hoped I'd say something entirely different. However,

[t]he only possible analysis that I (or any other 'expert') could have carried out on all of that material was a kinological analysis, [roughly] equivalent to a phonological type of analysis in linguistics. That, of course, wasn't what it was hoped I could do. . . . [I]t was hoped that I could supply explanations involving the meanings of the filmed dances, which is impossible, of course, without (1) understanding the body languages involved and (2) comprehending the [spatio-linguistic] structures of understanding by which meanings in dances [sign languages, rites, etc.] are made possible. (Williams 1996: 209—italics added)

An Australian colleague asked me if I really meant to say that movement is not universal.10 "That is exactly what I mean to say." He looked doubtful. "Then there is a problem," he said. "It is such a big problem, having so many aspects, that I am always perplexed about where to begin," I replied, and, the situation has not noticeably changed.

     When my colleagues and I talk about any aspect of human movement, we do not speak from the familiar assumptions of universality.11 That is why with regard to movement, semasiology uses the words 'action sign,' which is parallel to the Saussurian 'linguistic sign,' as in the diagram below:

Figure 1
An 'Action Sign'

     To semasiologists, an 'action sign' unites a concept and a movement image. Simple examples are some of the signifiers for affirmation:

Figure 2
Euro-American 'yes'

But even here, neither actions or semantics are universal: the head doesn't nod up and down in some parts of Bulgaria, where the action image for affirmation is what we would recognize as 'no.' In central Ghana, among the Ashanti people, the action image for 'yes' is a short upward move of the head, thus:

Figure 3

In any case, the 'bottom lines' in semasiology are these: "There is no objective field of behaviour," and, "[T]here is no universal unit of 'action' in society" (Ardener 1989 [1973]: 107–8).

     There are, however, many kinds of potentially significant actions, and there are a bewildering variety of signifying acts, all of which depend for their existence upon human agency and the social construction of persons. The significance of the italicized statement is succinctly summarized by Varela when he suggests

that semasiological theory is rooted in a revolt against two facets of determinism: the reduction of the cultural body to the biological organism, and the consequence of biological determinism, namely, the loss of personhood to a deterministic physics of being. The principle that human embodiment is a matter of groundedness in materiality and not reduction to materiality rescues both the body and the person from determinism, hence constitutes the recovery of human agency. (1993: 239—italics added)

Later, he asserts:

The important insight of semasiology is this: the richness of agentic possibilities is constituted in the moving body, not the body itself. And the moving body refers decisively to the agentic production of signifying (and significant) movements. . . . Semasiologically, there can be no universal context-independent non-linguistic significance to human movement. Even when the action signs in question can be translated and glossed in English words such as 'bowing,' or 'praying,' or noted as indexical terms of self-reference, the acts in question remain culture-specific and idiom specific, even though they may look the same, or be classified under the same verbal references. (Varela 1993: 239 and 241)

The three 'bows' which will be analyzed and explained in the next chapter are context-dependent, linguistically significant, human actions. They are not equivalents, nor should they be treated as if they were the same. With each bow, we enter a different form space that unfolds through time/space in a unique manner.


Short answers to the Preview questions:

1. Semasiology's 'form space' is often referred to by other names. Are these names merely word glosses for traditional concepts of the body and space? The different names for form-space, (i.e., 'liturgical space,' 'exercise space,' 'performance space,' 'enactment space,' etc.) are not word glosses for traditional concepts of the body or the space(s) in which it moves. They all refer to different ways of talking about a new concept of the space internal to the dance, rite, signed conversation, etc. that is under investigation.

2. How can one best think of the spaces internal to any given dance or sign system? Initially, by thinking in terms of a paramorphic model of an electromagnetic field. This model fulfills all the needed requirements for seeing the internal spaces of sign systems. The model permits researchers to distinguish between acts and actions internal to the system under investigation from everything external to the system.

3. How are theoretical models and analogies used in semasiology? Why are they important? Theory in semasiology solves typical kinds of problems characteristic of human movement studies. For example, "Why is it that human signifying acts (and patterns of human actions) are the way they are? Semasiological theory answers this question by providing accounts of the constitution of embodied human acts and actions, including the concepts of 'form space' discussed in this chapter. The 'degrees of freedom of the jointing parts of the signifying body', 'all theoretically possible human movement,' and 'the structure of interacting dualities' are described in the Appendix.

     Theoretical concepts are important because, together, they are responsible for generating existential hypotheses of what is seen 'on the ground' in the form of significant human acts and systems of actions. In general, semasiological theory exists on a macro-level of explanation, known only to researchers/ analysts. Theory in semasiology is considered 'good to think with.' It is present in ethnographic description in disguised forms. That is, a researcher may use the concept of form space, but he or she is not obliged to explain the concept every time it is used. It is enough to indicate that "X is carried out in terms of semasiological theory" or that "this description of X describes the form space of Y."

4. What does 'performativity' mean? A 'performative act' is an act that in fact follows from what is said, and/or an act done as part of what is being said. In general, performatory languages (of which human signifying acts and actions are examples) are used in specific contexts (a) whose meaning is derived from being used to perform meanings about which they inform others, or (b) whose meaning consists in the act of performing itself.

5. Is the idea of the universality of movement a problem? Yes. Semasiology affirms the universality of structure of the moving human body and the spaces in which it moves (for example, there are only so many theoretically possible movements of which the human body is capable, and there are only three dimensions of space––up/ down, front/back, right/left––within which it moves), however, this is only half the story.

     Semasiology also gives equal weight to the context-dependent, linguistically-tied significances of the enormous variety of culture-specific action sign systems found throughout the world. This means that semasiologists do not affirm the existence of an objective field of human 'behavior' where every movement that looks the same means the same. Nor do semasiologists affirm the existence of universally recognizable units of significant action signs in human societies.


1 Here, we encounter a problem: to 'identify' something in commonsense terms means to recognize or point out something (which meaning is also included here), however, there is much more to philosophical, anthropological, and scientific usages of this word than simple recognition. For example,

The concepts and criteria according to which the sociologist [social anthropologist or semasiologist] judges that, in two situations, the same thing has happened, or the same action performed, must be understood in relation to the rules governing sociological investigation. But here we run against a difficulty; for whereas in the case of the natural scientist we have to deal with only one set of rules, namely those governing the scientist's investigation itself, here what the sociologist [social anthropologist or semasiologist] is studying, as well as his study of it, is a human activity and is therefore carried on according to rules. And it is these rules, rather than those which govern the sociologist's [social anthropologist's or semasiologist's] investigation, which specify what is to count as 'doing the same kind of thing' in relation to that kind of activity. (Winch 1990 [1958]: 86–87—italics added)

2 In contrast to 'perception,' 'apperception' denotes the process in which knowledge of intangible realities is gained through the mediation of the tangible. It also connotes the linguistic process through which the sense of words is changed. In common usage, 'perception' is usually associated with the gross act of 'perceiving,' i.e., 'noticing' or (sometimes) comprehension of a very simple kind. The entailments of 'apperceiving' are, therefore, more complex. If it is stated, for example, that time is apperceived in our society by means of space and specifically in terms of movements of objects in that space, it is clear that the statement means that time is an intangible feature of human life that is understood by most people chiefly in relation to distances between movable, or static, tangible objects in space. It follows that space (in this apperception of the matter) has logical priority, and concepts of time are derivative.

3 A 'paramorphic model' in the physical sciences is one where the source of the model (in this case, an electromagnetic field) and the subject of the model (in the original theoretical exposition, 'a dance') are not the same. Paramorphic models contrast with homeomorphic models where the source and subject of a model are the same.

4 Readers should keep in mind that models (like analogies) are limited devices. I wouldn't want what I have to say about electromagnetic fields and dances to be misconstrued.

5 In a perceptive essay about the proper alignment of causal powers and the action sign, Varela has briefly defined semasiology's (a) finite system of agency, (b) facilitating conditions of agency, and (c) actual construction of action (1993: 243–44). He did this within a context of the new realist, non-positivistic conception of science, which is the kind of science that informs semasiology.

6 This point has to be made, because an unfortunate tendency among scholars and students these days is to label any opposition whatsoever a 'dichotomy.' Semasiologists understand 'dichotomy' to be the division of things into two basic parts that are regarded as fundamentally or irreducibly different. The word refers to a mutually exclusive relationship of two things. It presents a real problem in anthropological discourse, where (especially with regard to classificatory and categorical systems) there are a number of kinds of oppositions and oppositional contrasts used, many of which are complementary oppositions, not dichotomies. In fact, there are very few things, classes, etc. that are true dichotomies. The spatial dimension 'up/down,' for example, is not a dichotomy. It is a contrary opposition that admits of many degrees (or points) in between, although it is often (wrongly) treated as if it were a dichotomy. Ogden (1967 [1932]) is an excellent reference.

7 These three 'bows' are from the Catholic Tridentine Mass, the Chinese exercise technique T'ai Chi Ch'uan, and the ballet Checkmate.

8 A 'performative act' is often defined as an act that in fact follows from what is said, and/or an act done as part of what is being said. In general, performatory languages (of which human body talk is certainly an example) are languages used in specific contexts (a) whose meaning is derived from being used to act out (perform) the meaning (activity) they are informing us about, or (b) whose meaning consists in the very act of 'uttering'––or performing––them.

9 [Editor's Note] The next chapter referred to here is not included in this issue of JASHM but will appear in a future issue.

10 The films I saw established that movement is not universal, otherwise I could have said, "This is a religious dance" or "That is a feast dance" and so on. Any set of unidentified film clips of dancing will verify the same thing for an independent observer-assessor.

11 We do not speak from the assumptions that (a) 'behavior' is a quantifiable universal that applies to all movement everywhere, or (b) 'behavior' is predictable and/or potentially applicable to disparate kinds of data, i.e., the 'behavior' of water, atomic particles, animals, etc.



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