Articulating blind touch: thinking through the feet

Hannah Macpherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Through reference to autobiographies of blindness and interview material with members of specialist blind and visually impaired walking groups this article aims to explore some of the problems of talking about the experience of touch. It reflects on how people with blindness are receptive to and articulate tactile impressions, and consideration is given to how the articulation of touch relates to certain discourses and stereotypes of touch and blindness. In so doing, the article highlights some of the ways in which the embodied experience of touch is mediated through language and makes the simple point that language does not simply convey tactile experience, it mediates its expression. With this research “problem” in mind I turn to how some interview participants drew attention to their feet – transcending the stereotype of blind touch as primarily associated with the hand. Some of the ways in which the impressions of the feet are talked about by people with blindness are revealed, including the way in which feet are part of embodied processes of immersion and forgetting as well as a source of contemplation, humor, visualization, and dreams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-193
Number of pages15
JournalSenses and Society
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • blindness
  • touch
  • feet
  • discourse
  • language

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