How We Walk

How We Walk:Frantz Fanon and the Politics of the Body

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You can tell a lot about someone by the way they walk. As Matthew Beaumont argues, the body holds the social traumas of race, history, and inequality. Our stride reflects our social and political experiences and inequalities, how we navigate, the necessary constant vigilance against city life.

Through a series of portraits of major thinkers Beaumont explores the relationship between walking and race, freedom, capitalism, and the human body. Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist and leading thinker of liberation, was one of the first people to think about what happened when 'walking while black'. Beaumont also introduces us to Wilheilm Reich, who wrote that one could tell the truth of a person through their 'gait'. For Ernst Bloch, the ability to walk upright and with ease is a signal of one's freedom. Such questions raise the dilemma of how a person walks under capitalism? Can one ever find peace while putting one foot in front of the other? What is the relationship between one's stride and the places where we go?

Thought-provoking and lyrical, Matthew Beaumont reimagines the canon of the literature on walking and presents a new perspective on the impact of class, race, and politics on our physical movements and raises important questions about the truth behind our stride.


  • One of the most brilliant of the younger generation of English critics

    Terry Eagleton, author of How to Read Literature
  • Praise for The Walker

  • Matthew Beaumont's prose is the golden thread of elegance and erudition we need to guide us through the labyrinth of the modern city. These essays confirm him to be simultaneously the possessor of a coherent and convincing overview of emergent Modernist thought and creativity in the urban context, and the inheritor of all the radical subjectivities he engages with.

    Will Self