"A magnificent volume! It offers brand new perspectives on body politics and identity or subjectivity formation in the post-colonial world." -- Dorothy Ko, Barnard College While there is widespread interest in dress and hygiene as vehicles of cultural, moral, and political value, little scholarly attention has been paid to cross-cultural understandings of dirt and undress, despite their equally important role in the fashioning of identity and difference. The essays in this absorbing and thought-provoking collection contribute new insights into the neglected topics of bodily treatments and transgressions. In detailed ethnographic studies from around the world, the contributors recast assumptions about filth and nakedness, exploring how various forms of transgression associated with the body's surface are drawn up into relations of power and inequality. They demonstrate imaginatively how body surfaces are powerfully mobilized in the making and unmaking of moral worlds.
This volume examines the dynamic relationship between the body, clothing, and identity in sub-Saharan Africa and raises questions that have previously been directed almost exclusively to a Western and urban context. Unusual in its treatment of the body surface as a critical frontier in the production and authentification of identity, Clothing and Difference shows how the body and its adornment have been used to construct and contest social and individual identities in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, and other African societies during both colonial and post-colonial times. Grounded in the insights of anthropology and history and influenced by developments in cultural studies, these essays investigate the relations between the personal and the public, and between ideas about the self and those about the family, gender, and national groups. They explore the bodily and material creation of the changing identities of women, spirits, youths, ancestors, and entrepreneurs through a consideration of topics such as fashion, spirit possession, commodity exchange, hygiene, and mourning. By taking African societies as its focus, Clothing and Difference demonstrates that factors considered integral to Western social development—heterogeneity, migration, urbanization, transnational exchange, and media representation—have existed elsewhere in different configurations and with different outcomes. With significance for a wide range of fields, including gender studies, cultural studies, art history, performance studies, political science, semiotics, economics, folklore, and fashion and textile analysis/design, this work provides alternative views of the structures underpinning Western systems of commodification, postmodernism, and cultural differentiation. Contributors. Misty Bastian, Timothy Burke, Hildi Hendrickson, Deborah James, Adeline Masquelier, Elisha Renne, Johanna Schoss, Brad Weiss
This book is the empirical part of a broad research project on society in a global context, complementing the first, theoretical book, Theorizing Society in a Global Context. While the theoretical book set the framework for a long overdue readdressing of the sociological core-term society in a conflict-theoretical perspective, this second book substantiates its findings with theory-driven empirical analysis. Krossa investigates a variety of social exchanges between refugees and longer-term residents using various qualitative methods, and applies a lens of inclusion and exclusion via definitions of dirt and cleanliness, to analyse the ways in which conflict-prone activities to ‘integrate’ take place. Analysing Society in a Global Context will be of interest to students and scholars across sociology, cultural studies, migration studies, European studies, globalisation studies, modern history, and political science.
Human Rights Race and Resistance in Africa and the African Diaspora
Africans and their descendants have long been faced with abuse of their human rights, most frequently due to racism or racialized issues. Consequently, understanding shifting conceptualizations of race and identity is essential to understanding how people of color confronted these encounters. This book addresses these issues and their connections to social justice, discrimination, and equality movements. From colonial abuses or their legacies, black people around the world have historically encountered discrimination, and yet they do not experience injustice opaquely. The chapters in this book explore and clarify how Africans, and their descendants, struggled to achieve agency despite long histories of discrimination. Contributors draw upon a range of case studies related to resistance, and examine these in conjunction with human rights and the concept of race to provide a thorough exploration of the diasporic experience. Human Rights, Race, and Resistance in Africa and the African Diaspora will appeal to students and scholars of Ethnic and Racial Studies, African History, and Diaspora Studies.
Throughout the history of Indian religions, the ascetic figure is most closely identified with power. A by-product of the ascetic path, power is displayed in the ability to fly, walk on water or through dense objects, read minds, discern the former lives of others, see into the future, harm others, or simply levitate one's body. These tales give rise to questions about how power and violence are related to the phenomenon of play. Indian Asceticism focuses on the powers exhibited by ascetics of India from ancient to modern time. Carl Olson discusses the erotic, the demonic, the comic, and the miraculous forms of play and their connections to power and violence. He focuses on Hinduism, but evidence is also presented from Buddhism and Jainism, suggesting that the subject matter of this book pervades India's major indigenous religious traditions. The book includes a look at the extent to which findings in cognitive science can add to our understanding of these various powers; Olson argues that violence is built into the practice of the ascetic. Indian Asceticism culminates with an attempt to rethink the nature of power in a way that does justice to the literary evidence from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sources.
The act of undressing has a multitude of meanings, which vary dramatically when this commonly private gesture is presented for public consumption. This ground-breaking book explores the significance of undressing in various cultural and social contexts. As we are increasingly obsessed with dress choices as signifiers of who we are and how we feel, an investigation into what happens as we remove our clothes has never been more pertinent. Exploring three main issues - politics, tease, and clothes without bodies - Acts of Undressing discusses these key themes through an in-depth and eclectic mix of case studies including flashing at Mardi Gras, the World Burlesque Games, and 'shoefiti' used by gangs to mark territories. Building on leading theories of dress and the body, from academics including Roland Barthes and Mario Perniolato, Ruth Barcan and Erving Goffman, Acts of Undressing is essential reading for students of fashion, sociology, anthropology, visual culture, and related subjects.