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A Phenomenology of Whiteness in Rolfing® S

Author
Translator
Pages: 58-63
Year: 2021
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Structure, Function, Integration. Journal of the Dr Ida Rolf Institute. August 2021/ Vol. 49, No. 2

Volume: 49
ABSTRACT This paper discusses aesthetic and phenomenological philosophies as a lens to understand and discuss Rolfing Structural Integration (SI) and its relationship to orientation, neutrality, and Whiteness. Three primary understandings of orientation are discussed to investigate the aesthetic standards SI upholds, and the racialized implications of such standards. The first orientation relates directly to the work of Dr. Ida Rolf and Kevin Frank. The second, integral to this work, relates to scholar Sara Ahmed’s explication of phenomenological orientation. Finally, the work of aesthetic philosopher Robin James explores how these models of orientation illuminate the ways SI may uphold Eurocentric hegemony. This paper outlines these orientations as an invitation to practitioners of SI, as well as all somatic educators and explorers to challenge their own understandings and assumptions of what a well-structured human should be. Questions are offered that may help somatic educators and scholars to question the ways in which they may, unknowingly, uphold Eurocentric hegemony in their philosophy and praxis. The author discusses his experience training as a Rolfer, and as a professional dancer and dance scholar, putting into conversation SI theories that are academic, somatic, and personal.
ABSTRACT
This paper discusses aesthetic and phenomenological philosophies as a lens to understand and discuss Rolfing Structural Integration (SI) and its relationship to orientation, neutrality, and Whiteness. Three primary understandings of orientation are discussed to investigate the aesthetic standards SI upholds, and the racialized implications of such standards. The first orientation relates directly to the work of Dr. Ida Rolf and Kevin Frank. The second, integral to this work, relates to scholar Sara Ahmed’s explication of phenomenological orientation. Finally, the work of aesthetic philosopher Robin James explores how these models of orientation illuminate the ways SI may uphold Eurocentric hegemony. This paper outlines these orientations as an invitation to practitioners of SI, as well as all somatic educators and explorers to challenge their own understandings and assumptions of what a well-structured human should be. Questions are offered that may help somatic educators and scholars to question the ways in which they may, unknowingly, uphold Eurocentric hegemony in their philosophy and praxis. The author discusses his experience training as a Rolfer, and as a professional dancer and dance scholar, putting into conversation SI theories that are academic, somatic, and personal.
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