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Gut Rhetorics: Toward Experiments in Living with Microbiota

Jason Kalin, David R. Gruber

Abstract


When considering the material ecologies of the human body, we must consider the bodies within—at least five hundred known species of microbes. We propose the term gut rhetorics to highlight how our guts have become an environment to which we are exposed: a biologically active actant contributing to the physiology and psychology—the rhetorical capacities—of the human body. Gut rhetorics incorporate—bring into the body and, importantly, into the body of rhetoric—the hungry horde within human bodies. First, we trace one probiotic formulation across three scientific studies to show how bodies, affects, and microbes are being “calibrated” at the level of experiment. Second, we stress skilled probiotic experimentation and encourage scholars to play amid environments, give attention to embodiment, and pursue phenomenological inquiry (Gruber, 2018; Melonçon, 2018). Gut rhetorics consider bodies, affects, and microbiota as entangled metabolic intra-actions that affect how the world appears to the body and the body to the world.


Keywords


attunement; body; microbes; new materialism; rhetorical ontology

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/rhm.2018.1014



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