Instrumental Touch: A Foucauldian Analysis of Women’s Fitness


  • Dominika Czarnecka Institute of Achaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw


Group Pilates classes in commercial fitness gyms are among the most common forms of mindful fitness in Warsaw. The instructors teaching these classes often correct the participant’s posture by touching them. While academic publications often critique fitness as a disciplinary practice, much fewer studies analyse touch understood as one of disciplinary techniques. Similarly, little is known about the experiences of fitness culture participants who encounter instrumental touch during Pilates classes. This qualitative research project analyses how Michel Foucault’s concept of anatomo-political power intersects with instrumental touch applied during Pilates classes to study how touch is used to train fitness bodies and how instructors and other participants of Pilates sessions participate in power relations. The article considers the value of instrumental touch in the context of relations between instructors and their clients.



2021-07-27 — Updated on 2021-07-27


How to Cite

Czarnecka, D. (2021). Instrumental Touch: A Foucauldian Analysis of Women’s Fitness. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 45(4), 23–43.