The article deals with the sesquicentennial history of the concept ‘extension’, popularized by, the founder of proxemics Edward Hall. Introduced during the early XX c., the concept gained currency in contemporary anthropological ecology, media theory, and sociology. A number of scholars, including the founder of the philosophy of technology Ernst Kapp and that of psychoanalysis – Sigmund Freud, had contributed to the theory of extensions further developed by a visionary engineer Richard Buckminster Fuller and Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan. The author discusses the place of extensions among other types of techno-somatic assemblages and suggests a typology of extensions according to their topological location, relative size, and the human faculty or function that a particular extension magnifies or supersedes. The history of the concept enables one to assert that human cultural artifacts could be viewed as a certain organ’s or somatic function’s dilation or amplification and that one’s body and mind occur in stable relations with technical artifacts (various tools, appliances, machines, infrastructures) well before birth as parts of techno-somatic assemblages. Extension as a special type of hybrid techno-somatic entities, as a chimeric concept, uniting somatic (natural) and human-made (artificial, cultural, technical) elements, becomes the encompassing notion for culture and technology in their entirety, a bridge between body and mind, on the one hand, and technical milieu, on the other. The author assesses the implications of such a view for body, memory, and death studies.
Arnold, M., Gibbs, M., Kohn, T., Meese, J., & Nansen, B. (2018). Death and Digital Media. London: Routledge.
Carroll, E. & Romano, J. (2010). Your Digital Afterlife. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Press.
Clark, A. & Chalmers, D. (1998). The extended mind. Analysis, (58), 7–19.
Cochran, G. & Harpending, H. (2009). The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. New York: Basic Books.
Deleuze G. & Guttari, F.  (1998). Qu'est-ce Que la Philosophie? Saint-Petersburg: Aleteia (in Russian).
Fortunati, L., Katz, J. E. & Riccini, R. (Eds.). (2003). Mediating the Human Body: Technology, Communication, and Fashion. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. Publ.
Freud, S.  (2006). Das Unbehagen in der Kultur. In Freud, S. Werkausgabe in zwei Bänden (Bd.2. Anwendungen der Psychoanalyse, S. 367–424). Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag.
Fuller, R. B. (1938). Nine Chains to the Moon. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois Univ. Press.
Hall, E. T. (1959). The Silent Language. Garden City, NY: Doubleday,
Hall, E. T.  (1989) Beyond Culture. N.Y.: Anchor Books.
Hall, E. T. & Trager, G. L. (1953). The Analysis of Culture. Washington: American Council of Learned Societies, (pre-print).
Jones, S., Martin, R. D. & Pilbeam, D. (Eds.). (1992). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University press.
Kapp, E. (1877). Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik. Zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Kultur aus neuen Gesichtspunkten. Braunschweig: George Westermann.
Kirkwood, W. J. & Weatherby, L. (2018). Operations of Culture: Ernst Kapp’s Philosophy of Technology. Grey Room, (72), 6–15.
Kittler, F. (2010). Optical Media: Berlin Lectures, 1999. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
Law, J. (1992) Notes on the Theory of the Actor-Network: Ordering, Strategy, and Heterogeneity. Systems Practice, 5(4), 379-393.
Le Corbusier. (1987). The Decorative Art of Today. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Lemos Morais, R. & Canevacci, M. (2016). Digital Ubiquity in the Anthropocene: the non-anthropocentric anthropology of Massimo Canevacci. Antrocom. Journal of Anthropology, 12(1), 5-12.
Lowe E. J. (2013). Mereological Extensionality, Supplementation, and Material Constitution. The Monist, (96), 131–148.
Lowe, E. J. (2009). More Kinds of Being: a Further Study of Individuation, Identity, and the Logic of Sortal Terms. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Mauss, M.  (1936). Les techniques du corps. Journal de Psychologie, XXXII (3-4), 365–386.
McLuhan, M. (1960). The Effect of the Printed Book on Language in the Sixteenth Century. In Carpenter, R. & McLuhan, M. (Eds.) Explorations in Communication (pp. 125–135). Boston, Mass.: Beacon press.
McLuhan, M. (1962). The Gutenberg Galaxy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Molinaro, M., McLuhan, C. & Toye, W. (Eds.). (1987). Letters of Marshall McLuhan. New York: Oxford University Press.
Reuleaux, F. (1876). The Kinematics of Machinery: Outlines of a Theory of Machines. London: Macmillan.
Rogers, E. M. (2000). The Extensions of Men: the Correspondence of Marshall McLuhan and Edward T. Hall. Mass Communication & Society, 3(1), 117–135.
Sokolovskiy, S. V. (2016). “Ontological Turn” and Material Culture Studies. In S.V. Sokolovskiy (Ed.). Russian Anthropology and the “Ontological Turn” (pp. 254–302). Tomsk: Tomsk University press (in Russian).
Sokolovskiy, S. V. (2017). Anthropotechnomorphisms and the Anthropology of Techno-Corpo-Reality. Sociology of Power, 29(3), 23–40. Doi: 10.22394/2074-0492-2017-3- 23-40 (in Russian).
Sokolovskiy, S. V. (2018a). Somatotechniques, Technomorphisms and the Issue of the Human-in-Techno-Environment. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, (6), 5–11. Doi: 10.31857/S086954150002448-2 (in Russian).
Sokolovskiy, S. V. (2018b). Techno-Humanity and the Anthropology of the Everyday. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, (6), 54–65. Doi: 10.31857/S086954150002452-7 (in Russian).
Sokolovskiy, S. V. (2019). Bodies and Technologies through the Prism of Techno-Anthropology. Forum for Anthropology and Culture, (15), 97–115.
Sokolovskiy, S. V. (2021). Turning towards Materiality, Nonhuman Agency, and Hybridity. Anthropologica, 61(4) (in press).
Uexküll J., von  (1921). Umwelt und Innenwelt der Tiere. 2-te Aufgabe. Berlin: Springer Verlag.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.