Anthropology of the body and sociology of interaction


Course description

Being closer to ideas that speech, gestures make us what we are: human beings. Since they exist as invisible forms, which can only be captured through traces, gestures form the source of most of our communication systems. Even if today, motion capture permits the recording of gestures in refined ways, digitalization provides only limited access to understanding them. After all, their ‘capture’ is only generated through a series of still images (Deleuze, 1983). Furthermore, any technological apparatus (Agamben, 1996) poses the question of remediation of gesture: once it is reincorporated, it gets played and arranged by machines (Schnell, 2013). As the use of technology requires us to question the transformation of gestures into texts, codes, and images, the key topic of this course will be: how to build society through media, devices, or any technological apparatus (Latour, 1992). In line with the teachings of Marcel Mauss, André Leroi-Gourhan, Adam Kendon or Marcel Jousse, this course in anthropology is set at the confluence of theories of perception, cognition, as well as the history of science and technology. By initiating research through practice, we invite you to participate in a first mapping of this emerging field of research, which responds to the rapid growth of technology. What will possible worlds and people of tomorrow look like? And above all, what kind of society do you want to build and live in?


  • Understand the theoretical bases of anthropology and the sociology of the body
  •  Use ethnographic analysis tools through participatory observation and qualitative interview techniques
  • Identify behavioural patterns; develop a know-how towards to criticize them
  • Apply knowledge gained, in the context of a field-based survey and relating bodies in interaction with urban settings

Academic Instructor
Anne Dubos