Some people smoke. The cigarette break can be their only relaxed moment alone – and so a needed component in their everyday care of the self. Alcohol consumption might in some cases combine good and bad effects too. We say that video games and smart phones get youngsters (and adults) “hooked”. Our image of a gamer as being an over-weight male nerd in a dark room drinking diet coke has changed, though. What kind of a somatic culture is gaming actually? Could it in fact support well-being? Can a person use dangerous substances, and against all prejudices, take care of himself/herself in a way, where aesthetic concepts like harmony or holistic pleasure would make sense?

In this theme issue we want to explore the possibilities of somaesthetics as a discourse and/or a platform to raise discussion and produce novel ways to think about addiction and other unhealthy life styles. We all use methods of care of the self, but we easily forget the care of the self of people, who have in a way or another lost control over their lives, or at least some part of it.  However, also for example substance users and other addicts have hobbies and they also work hard on controlling and/or medicating their addictions through self-care. Many have also succeeded in this as for example literature on natural recovery without treatment has shown. Finally, for many, for example art has been a central form of self-care and a pathway out of addiction (We know the number of addicts in the history of arts and popular culture.)

We would like to invite papers, which discuss the bodily effects of addictions (alcohol, drugs and gambling) and other unhealthy lifestyles and the ways in which people living with these conditions have tried to control their effects through for instance art, exercise or diet. The papers could also touch the role of art education, art therapy and related disciplines in treatment and recovery. 

Secondly, we are interested in papers, which look at the aesthetics of addiction, e.g.  how has addiction been viewed in art and cultural products, and the ways in which these cultural products could serve as way out of addiction or other un-healthy lifestyles. Finally, what kind of aesthetic cultures fuel addiction and other forms of unhealthy life in the first place, and how much do we know about the combination of (bad) health and aesthetics? Interesting examples are not hard to find, from experience-driven drug (popular) cultures like techno music to the colorful, audio-visually upbeat culture of gambling.

Could somaesthetics as a discourse and/or a platform be helpful for raising discussions about the techniques of the care of the self in these respects, maybe even go hand in hand with medicine and social sciences? Do not be shy about inventing new perspectives and taking up new topics! Surprise us!





18.6.2020: Deadline for the Articles, which will be sent for peer review

10.8.2020: Peer-reviews back to the authors

1.10.2020: Deadline for the finished articles

November 2020: Publishing


Guest Editor: Riikka Perälä (annari1973@gmail.com), with Max Ryynänen (max.ryynanen@aalto.fi) – please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions


The Journal of Somaesthetics is a peer-reviewed, online, academic research journal devoted to research that advances the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics, understood as the critical study and meliorative cultivation of the experience and performance of the living body (or soma) as a site of sensory appreciation (aesthesis) and creative self-stylization. https://somaesthetics.aau.dk/index.php/JOS/about