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CoPSE: a methodological intervention towards gentle more-than human relations

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Suzanne HocknellORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


One meaning of ‘gentle’ is consideration for others. However, as Derrida (1991) illustrated it is impossible for one individual to consider all such others. Here I demonstrate that this impasse arises from the re‐production of self‐other binaries. In the case of food, framing eating as consumption co‐produces eater and eaten as different kinds of things. Within this framing, even as the eater endeavours to be considerate to eaten others there are limits to their hospitality. Yet pertinent to this is a second connotation of gentle, that of being easily controlled. Relating and caring with and for others, are always negotiated with and in the trajectories we have become implicated in. Recreating otherwise necessitates shifts in the ways in which others are encountered in the here and now. To this end, in this paper I introduce the methodological intervention of ‘CoPSE’. CoPSE draws on three principles: Collective doings, Playful practices and prefigurative Strange Encounters, and on Spinoza’s concept of the composite individual. Here, I outline how CoPSE was used to gently disrupt situated norms, momentarily making space for embodied investigations of the world making of self‐other relations. I demonstrate that such practices are micro‐resistances to social norms that in reproducing self‐other binaries co‐create hierarchies of care. I argue that through rehearsal, through repetition and difference, such micro‐resistances have the chance to become generative micro‐refrains that prefigure embodied relations of more‐than human subjectivities and outlive the moment in ways that might just take hold.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hocknell S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Area

Year: 2019

Issue: ePub ahead of Print

Online publication date: 06/10/2019

Acceptance date: 02/10/2019

Date deposited: 07/10/2019

ISSN (print): 0004-0894

ISSN (electronic): 1475-4762

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/area.12593


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