Abstract for Body Torque

Emanuel A. Schegloff: "Body Torque." Social 
Research, 65:3, 1998, 535-596.

Prompted originally by an art historian's 
description of the posture of a protagonist in a 
well known painting by Titian, the line of inquiry
on which I am reporting here explores a type of 
postural configuration best described as "body 
torque"- by which I mean, roughly, divergent 
orientations of the body sectors above and below 
the neck and waist, respectively. A sketch of 
various possible features of body torque is 
followed by an exploration of these features as 
displayed in episodes of ordinary interaction,
and their relevance for understanding classical
paintings meant to depict quite extraordinary 
episodes of interaction.' Among the features of 
body torque that will be of interest are, first,
its capacity to project postural instability and 
types of potential resolutions of this 
instability; second, its capacity to display 
engagement with multiple courses of action and 
interactional involvements, and differential 
ranking of those courses of action and 
involvements; third, some possible dispositions 
of conduct in this domain, such as one to 
"minimize torque"; and, fourth, the constraints 
and affordances that body torque, by virtue of 
these features, can bring to the character of the 
activities in which the body's deployer is 

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