Words are everywhere. Ubiquitous, pervasive. Yet our relations with words are narrowly defined. How does the sound, feel, touch, taste, place, position, speed, and direction of words come to matter in their uses?
Word begins from the premise that, if we consider words only in terms of language and as images, we overlook a range of bodily, sensory, affective and non-conscious relations with words. We overlook, too, their epistemological, methodological, experiential and political implications. This book seeks to redress this neglect by exploring words themselves in histories of language and contemporary theory, in print and typography, and through a series of empirical examples which include religion, embodiment, photography and performance. Word is a reminder that words live richly in the world. It is an invitation to recognise those non-linguistic word-relations that are already existing, and to bring new and generative encounters with words into being.
Acknowledgements / Introduction/ 1. Words and Language / 2. Words in Print and in Printed Stories/ 3. Words Divine / 4. Words Textural / 5.Words Gestural / Conclusion / Bibliography / Index
This is a book that will certainly prompt many readers to stop, think and reconsider their own disciplines from different perspectives. It should appeal to readers from all academic specialisms, from culture studies and sociology to language and linguistics, and indeed the arts and humanities and the social sciences much more broadly. . . .The book prises words out of their comfortable and familiar linguistic environments and embeds them instead in a series of contexts which illustrate the range of ways in which we engage with them.
This is a fascinating study of human existence as both embodied and as having a being in language. Written with generosity but not shying away from serious controversy on the relation between word, gesture and writing, Word: Beyond Language, Beyond Image, shows a deep understanding of what Wittgenstein called the physiognomy of words. This is a book of impeccable scholarship and grace.”
Mariam Motamedi Fraser is a Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London