Vol. 41 No. 2 (2021): The body and its surplus

Social Gestures as the Condition of Social Acts

Petar Bojanić
Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory - University of Belgrade Center for Advanced Studies - University of Rijeka
Il corpo e la sua eccedenza, the body and its surplus

Published 2021-12-07


  • gesture,
  • social gesture,
  • act,
  • social act,
  • form of appearance

How to Cite

Bojanić, P. (2021). Social Gestures as the Condition of Social Acts. Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 41(2), 9–22. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v41i2.130


The thematization of social gestures and social acts is practically inexis-tent, despite a classification of various such actions emerging in texts by great philosophers of  the  beginning  of  the  last  century.  My  intention  is  to  argue,  drawing  on  entirely  marginal  suggestions  of  several  authors  who  belong  to  different genres of philosophy and sociology, that there are indeed acts that are  justifiably  called  “social  gestures”.  Their  role  in  the  construction  of  a  group  or  institution  may  be  significant.  Not  only  would  they  not  be  a  mere  parasite or addition to social acts (which usually refers to linguistic acts), but they would directly participate in the construction of social acts and enable their  efficient  conduct.  In  addition,  the  role  of  social  gestures,  whose  main  characteristics are corporeality, visibility, and vivacity, could be a kind of a priori to the existence of the social group as such.