Embodying Charismatic Affect(If): the Example of Bruce Lee

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Social Change
Bruce Lee
Martial Arts
Sensual Solidarities

How to Cite

Brown, D. (2020). Embodying Charismatic Affect(If): the Example of Bruce Lee. Corpus Mundi, 1(3), 14-52. https://doi.org/10.46539/cmj.v1i3.22


While the concept of charisma is widely used in the social sciences, its embodied nature is less thoroughly explored and theorised. This paper revisits the key embodied characteristics of Weber's sociology of charisma and re-interprets these using Shilling's (2005, 2013) umbrella notions of the body as a source and location of and means for society as a way of analysing the idea of the charismatic body as a force for social change. It then draws on a range of embodied concepts to illuminate how charisma is significant channel of infra and inter-corporeal affective interaction between "leaders" and their followers. In particular, Freund's (2009) social synaesthesia and bio-agency, Massumi's (2002) perspective of affect and the moving body, Thrift's (2010) charismatic celebrity, allure and glamour, Mellor and Shilling's (1997) sensual solidarities, and Seyfert's (2012) conception of affectif. To develop and illustrate this perspective of the charismatically affective body in action, the life of film star and martial artist Bruce Lee (1940–1973) is utilised.



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