Cultivation the Body

Cultivating the Body: Anthropology and Epistemologies of Bodily Practice and Knowledge. Margaret Lock. Annual Review of Anthropology , Vol. 22, (1993), pp. 133-155

  • ┬áThe body is the way we interact with the world.
  • Durkeim made a distinction between the physical body and the socialized body
  • Hertz argued a biological case for right hand dominance
  • The body can be a means of morality, social order, holism, unity, and inclusion.
  • These categories can be inscribed onto the body through cosmetics, clothing, hair, ornamentation, ect.
  • Body expressions and their meanings are culturally determined
  • Therefor the body works as a transmitter and a receiver of information
  • Bourdieu – practical activity should not be constituted simply as representation. His theory was created in opposition to Levi-Strauss
  • Fluid boundaries between an individual and society help explain issues of inequality, misfortune, illness, and moral order.
  • Public symbols of the body still have personal meanings
  • You cannot exclude emotion from body studies. Emotions include meanings and feelings.
  • Desjarlais – must analyze the symbolic through a visceral engagement
  • ambiguity allows women to renegotiate their sense of self
  • Truth is asserted through emotion especially in conflict.
  • Sickness as a cultural performance – in an institutional setting, distress is viewed as amoral.
  • Aching bodies insist a meaning be found.
  • Sickness allows a bridge between concepts of body and mind
  • Nervoso a metaphor for men refusing menial labor, women’s response to a violent shock or tragedy
  • Anthropologists ignore the colonial relationship of the Other. Therefor there is no simple telling of the history of colonization.
  • Biomedical language has created a discourse to describe and analyze the body.
  • Gender stereotypes can be found in the scientific language of biology.
  • Consciousness is found in multiple “quasi-selves”
  • Middle-aged female bodies are normalized as nurturers of the elderly. Women’s bodies are expected to provide care.
  • Marx and Engels – body is transformed through labor
  • Conclusion _ Anthropology should resist a concrete solution about the body. The definitions should remain flexible
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