1. Phenomenology provides a set of tools for thinking about orientation. Given that
orientation is commonly described as a bodily spatial awareness (as the ‘‘sixth sense’’)
and is related to proprioception and kinesthetics, it is important to note that many
other traditions in psychology and the social sciences have also contributed to de-
bates about how bodies become orientated. In particular, work in the neurosciences
may be of interest to readers, particularly given that the neurosciences and phenom-
enology share common histories, interests, and concerns, and that key texts in each
draw on work in the other. See Gallagher (2003) who summarizes some of the main
debates about orientation and proprioception in the neurosciences and phenome-
nology. I should note as an aside here that my starting point in thinking about queer
phenomenology is not so much to explain orientation as a distinct sensory formation
(with the primary debate being about its origins and mechanisms). Rather, I want to
o√er instead another way of thinking about orientation, which points to how spatial
distinctions and awareness are implicated in how bodies get directed in specific
ways. In other words, orientation for me is about how the bodily, the spatial, and the
social are entangled. This is not to say, however, that we cannot learn from work that
proceeds from other starting points. See also Weiss (1999: 8–38) for an account of
relevant debates about the origins of the body schema.
2. Writing tables are not the only kinds of tables that appear in philosophy. As I will
discuss in relation to the work of Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, dining
tables also make an appearance, although this is less of a convention and it creates
quite a di√erent impression. Not all tables refer to the conventional meaning of
furniture, or if they do expose this convention, they do so more obliquely. A ‘‘table
of contents’’ is also a conventional element within philosophical writing. As Mi-
chel Foucault shows us, ‘‘the table’’ when used in this way functions as an ordering
device, which enables ‘‘thought to operate upon the entities of our world, to put
them in order, to divide them into classes, to group them according to names
that designate their similarities and di√erences’’ (2002: xix). It is not accidental that
the word ‘‘table’’ points to this function: to place things on a board is itself a
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