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ANTHROPOLOGIES OF THE BODY Scheper-Hughes & Lock – “the mindful body” Phenomenology & embodiment Bourdieu – Structure, habitus, practice.

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Presentation on theme: "ANTHROPOLOGIES OF THE BODY Scheper-Hughes & Lock – “the mindful body” Phenomenology & embodiment Bourdieu – Structure, habitus, practice."— Presentation transcript:

1 ANTHROPOLOGIES OF THE BODY Scheper-Hughes & Lock – “the mindful body” Phenomenology & embodiment Bourdieu – Structure, habitus, practice

2 Scheper-Hughes & Lock: anthropology of the body “The body as simultaneously a physical and symbolic artifact, naturally and culturally produced, anchored in a particular historical moment” Four bodies – individual body, social body, and body politic, the mindful body separate but overlapping units of analysis –different theoretical approaches –phenomenology, structuralism and symbolism, post- structuralism (practice theory – structure & agency)

3 The Individual Body lived experience of the body-self, body, mind, matter, psyche, soul

4 The Social Body representational uses of the body as a natural symbol with which to think about nature, society, culture

5 The Body Politic regulation, surveillance, & control of bodies (individual & collective) in reproduction & sexuality, in work & leisure, in sickness & other forms of deviance

6 The Mindful Body the most immediate, the proximate terrain where social truths and social contradictions are played out a locus of personal and social resistance, creativity, and struggle emotions form the mediatrix between the individual, social and political body, unified through the concept of the 'mindful body.'

7 PHENOMENOLOGY & EMBODIMENT Body is not an object to be studied in relation to culture, but is to be considered as the SUBJECT of culture body is a setting in relation to the world; consciousness is the body projecting itself into the world Experience not a primordial existential given but a historically and culturally constitutes process predicated on certain ways of being in the world

8 STRUCTURE, HABITUS, PRACTICE (agency) Structure – a particular class of conditions of existence produce habitus Habitus – regulated and regular without being in any way the product of obedience to rules habitus can be collectively orchestrated without being the product of the organizing action of a conductor Social agents operate according to their "feel for the game" (the "feel" being, roughly, habitus, and the "game" being the structure).

9 STRUCTURE, HABITUS, PRACTICE (agency) Practical sense (practice) -- proleptic adjustment (anticipatory) to demands of a field (structure) encounter between habitus and a field which makes possible the near-perfect anticipation of the future inscribed in all the concrete configurations (structure) the experience -- objective structures -- played out as the feel for direction, orientation, impending outcome

10 Gender: the individual body, the social body, the body politic, and habitus Sex, sexuality, & gender –Not the same thing

11 Sex & the individual body differences in biology Is this a man or woman? –How do you know?

12 Sex & the Social Body Tells us part of the story, but not all of the story

13 Gender

14 GENDER - the cultural construction of male & female characteristics –vs. the biological nature of men & women SEX differences are biological - GENDER differences are cultural behavioral & attitudinal differences from social & cultural rather than biological point of view Gender refers to the ways members of the two sexes are perceived, evaluated and expected to behave

15 Gender Boundaries since gender is culturally constructed the boundaries are conceptual rather than physical Boundaries require markers to indicate gender the boundaries are dynamic, eg. now it is acceptable for men to wear earrings

16 Boundary Markers Voice Physique Dress Behaviour Hair style Kinetics Language use

17 Boundary Markers & Inter-personal Interaction How do we react when someone seems to have traits of each category? social intercourse requires that the interacting parties know to which gender category `the other' belongs Felicita Vestvali New York opera star who specialized in singing contralto "trouser roles."

18 Women cross dress all the time. The difference is perception. Acceptance or Rejection by society

19 Blurring the Boundaries persistence of dualisms in ideologies of gender other categories - every society including our own is at some time or other faced with people who do not fit into its sex & gender categories

20 “Third” Gender a significant number of people are born with genitalia that is neither clearly male or female –Hermaphrodites persons who change their biological sex persons who exhibit behavior deemed appropriate for the opposite sex persons who take on other gender roles other than those indicated by their genitals

21 “Third” Gender multiple cultural & historical worlds in which people of divergent gender & sexual desire exist –margins or borders of society may pass as normal to remain hidden in the official ideology & everyday commerce of social life In some societies when discovered - iconic matter out of place - "monsters of the cultural imagination“ third gender as sexual deviance a common theme in N. America

22 Is it possible to have a genderless society?

23 Sexuality & the body politic all societies regulate sexuality –lots of variation cross-culturally degree of restrictiveness not always consistent through life span –adolescence vs. adulthood Varieties of “normative” sexual orientation –Heterosexual, homosexual, transexual Sexuality in societies change over time

24 Sexuality as body politics sex acts have varying social significance and subjective meanings in accordance with the cultural context in which they occur –as evidenced by cross-cultural variation in sex categories and labels the underlying assumption -- sexuality is mediated by cultural and historical factors distinctions to be made between sexual acts, sexual identities, and sexual communities.

25 GENDER & POWER gender roles - tasks & activities that a culture assigns to sexes gender stereotypes - oversimplified strongly held ideas about the characteristics of men & women & third sex-third gender gender stratification - unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued resources, power, prestige, personal freedom) between men & women reflecting their position in the social hierarchy

26 Gender & the Social Order

27 Social Stratification & Gender Gender is an important dimension of social inequality Gender stratification frequently takes the form of patriarchy whereby men dominate women Do women in our society have a second class status relative to men? If so How?

28 universals versus particulars universal subordination of women is often cited as one of the true cross-cultural universals, a pan-cultural fact –Engels called it the “world historical defeat of women” even so the particulars of women’s roles, statuses, power, and value differ tremendously by culture

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30 The Poetics & Politics of Bodies Body image as text/representation The poetics of the text/representation –identify aesthetic elements, narrative structures, epistemology The politics of text/representation –Behavior (structure) controls perception –the body image experienced in perception approximates that anticipated by the cognized & behaving self. the use of the body-as-symbol and the distortion of the body image for communicative purposes Images of our bodies is a basic component of our concept of our self and our personal identity.

31 Some Observations of Bodies in N. America media's increasing use of slim female models and images of nearly unattainable body measurements young women are subjected to images of the “perfect” female body and are subsequently distorting their own body images Complaints about body fat have become normal discourse among females “This pattern of body image distortion is considerably more pronounced and more common in women than in men, to the point that it is considered a characteristically female phenomenon (1999). new field of social aesthetics

32 Western Male Bodies & Taiwanese Male Bodies Body image disorders appear to be more prevalent in Western than non-Western men Previous studies have shown that young Western men display unrealistic body ideals and that Western advertising seems to place an increasing value on the male body Do Taiwanese men exhibit less dissatisfaction with their bodies than Western men? Does Taiwanese advertising place less value on the male body than Western media? Am J Psychiatry 162: , February 2005

33 Men & Poetics/Politics of Male Bodies: advertising & self Taiwanese men exhibited significantly less body dissatisfaction than their Western counterparts. In the magazine study, American magazine advertisements portrayed undressed Western men frequently, but Taiwanese magazines portrayed undressed Asian men rarely

34 Conclusions Taiwan appears less preoccupied with male body image than Western societies. This difference may reflect –Western traditions emphasizing muscularity and fitness as a measure of masculinity –increasing exposure of Western men to muscular male bodies in media images –greater decline in traditional male roles in the West, leading to greater emphasis on the body as a measure of masculinity These factors may explain why body dysmorphic disorder and anabolic steroid abuse are more serious problems in the West than in Taiwan.

35 Discourse, Subjectivity, Power Discourses –a system of representation –Codes and conventions –rules and practices that produce meaningful statements and regulate discourse in different historical periods "Discourse, Foucault argues, “constructs the topic. It defines and produces the objects of our knowledge. It governs the way that a topic can be meaningfully talked about and reasoned about.”

36 Concepts of the Individual, self, person in anthropology Individual as member of humankinde (biologistic) Self as locus of experience (psychologistic) Person as agent-in-society (sociologistic)

37 Identity and Subjectivity Social order -- arrays of identifications jockeying for position, gaining and losing strength, clashing with others, aligning with still others, and defining the texture of social action in their activity. Subjectivity – complex negotiation of representation & experience constructing the subject, constructing agency, constituting subjectivity

38 Discourse, Subjectivity, Power Discourse -- the bearer of various subject positions Subject positions -- specific positions of agency and identity in relation to particular forms of knowledge and practice Subjectivity --produced within discourse, subjected to discourse. subject position--[for us to become the subject of a particular discourse, and thus the bearers of its power/knowledge] we must locate ourselves in the position from which the discourse makes most sense, and thus become its 'subjects' by subjecting' ourselves to its meanings, power and regulation.

39 Discourse, Gender, Power sexuality and the body -- sites of power and politics socially imposed structures that objectified sexual identity and gender differences socially imposed structures that shape gender relations and behavior


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