The Body in Religious Media Ecologies: The Case of Subaltern Latino Counterpublics

Keywords: embodied cognition, the body as medium, religious media ecologies, public sphere, subaltern counterpublics


This paper explores the body-schematic and body-imaginative processes that underlie individuals’ participation in the public sphere via religious media ecologies. Utilising embodied cognition and social critique, the authors outline how subaltern counterpublics make use of the body to enact micro-oppositions to mainstream discourses. The paper also discloses the origins of higher objectivities (identity, sense of togetherness, justice, plausibility, opposition and openness) in embodiment. Discussing counterpublics through the prism of embodied cognition, as found in Latin religious media ecologies, constitutes a valuable alternative to the logocentric understanding of public consent. While the dominant discourse privileges abstract formal cognition, Latino subalterns use bodily, affective and enactive affordances given by religious media ecologies. The latter offer affordances and alternative strategies for enacting social imagination, bridging the personal and the public in physically choreographed joint intentions. Embodied participation suggests a constitutive process of public meaning that makes use of the body as the most fundamental medium of communication.

Cognition and Communication