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The Autonomous AnimalSelf-Governance and the Modern Subject$
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Claire E. Rasmussen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816669561

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816669561.001.0001

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Fit to Be Tied

Fit to Be Tied

Eexercise Fads and Our Addiction to Autonomy

(p.137) 5 Fit to Be Tied
The Autonomous Animal

Claire E. Rasmussen

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the everyday politics of the autonomous subject of advanced liberal physical culture; i.e. the fitness culture, where self-management of the body is the exemplar of autonomous subjectivity. By exploring the tensions between autonomy as law and autonomy as creativity, this chapter considers the possibility of an addiction to autonomy. Freedom is not located in the intentional liberation from power relationships but rather in the ways in which power can produce consequences that disrupt the ordinary operation of power and require us to think and act differently. The practices of constructing the self through rigorous attention to the body is reminiscent of Kant’s joy in his successful self-management, but the practices of fitness can be interpreted as challenging his view of the sovereign unitary subject who practices intentional agency in the management of the body.

Keywords:   advanced liberal physical culture, autonomous subjectivity, autonomy as law, autonomy as creativity, fitness culture, management of the body, freedom, addiction to autonomy

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