By Margaret Lock, Judith Farquhar

During the last a number of many years, students in either the social sciences and arts have moved past the concept that there's a “body proper”: a novel, discrete organic organism with someone psyche. they've got all started to understand embodiment as dynamic instead of static, as reviews that fluctuate over the years and internationally as they're formed by way of discourses, associations, practices, applied sciences, and ideologies. What has emerged is a multiplicity of our bodies, inviting a good many disciplinary issues of view and modes of interpretation. The forty-seven readings offered during this quantity diversity from vintage works of social concept, background, and ethnography to newer investigations into old and modern modes of embodiment.

Beyond the physique Proper contains 9 sections conceptually prepared round topics akin to daily life, intercourse and gender, and technological know-how. each one part is preceded via interpretive remark by means of the volume’s editors. in the assortment are articles and e-book excerpts all in favour of our bodies utilizing instruments and collaborating in rituals, on our bodies jogging and consuming, and at the girl circumcision controversy, in addition to items on scientific classifications, spirit ownership, the commodification of physique components, in vitro fertilization, and an artist/anatomist’s “plastination” of cadavers for reveal. Materialist, phenomenological, and feminist views on embodiment look in addition to writings on interpretations of soreness and the altering meanings of sexual activity. Essays on those issues and so forth problem Eurocentric assumptions in regards to the physique as they converse to one another and to the main influential modern developments within the human sciences.

With decisions via: Henry Abelove, Walter Benjamin, Janice Boddy, John Boswell, Judith Butler, Caroline Walker Bynum, Stuart Cosgrove, Michel de Certeau, Gilles Deleuze, Alice Domurat Dreger, Barbara Duden, Friedrich Engels, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Judith Farquhar, Marcel Granet, Felix Guattari, Ian Hacking, Robert Hertz, Patricia Leyland Kaufert, Arthur Kleinman, Shigehisa Kuriyama, Jean Langford, Bruno Latour, Margaret Lock, Emily Martin, Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Nancy ok. Miller, Lisa Jean Moore, John D. O’Neil, Aihwa Ong, Mariella Pandolfi, Susan Pedersen, Gregory M. Pflugfelder, Rayna Rapp, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Kristofer Schipper, Matthew Schmidt, Peter Stallybrass, Michael Taussig, Charis Thompson, E.P. Thompson, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Victor Turner, Terence Turner, Jose van Dijck, Keith Wailoo, Brad Weiss, Allon White

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Extra resources for Beyond the Body Proper: Reading the Anthropology of Material Life (Body, Commodity, Text)

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In fact, if there are technical reasons for the preference (which is limited in any case) of the Chinese for the left, these reasons might perhaps better be sought not in the techniques of agriculture but in military techniques. The point on which the Chinese case presents a particular interest is related to the mythology of right and left: the latter is preferred to the right, but the right is not absolutely inauspicious, nor is the left always auspicious. The diametrical opposition or polarity of which Hertz spoke is not found in China.

As people in mourning, whom death has enveloped, have to veil themselves, neglect their bodies, and let their hair and nails grow, so it would be out of place to take too much care of the bad hand: the nails are not cut and it is washed less than the other. Thus the belief in a profound disparity between the two hands sometimes goes so far as to produce a visible bodily asymmetry. Even if it is not betrayed by its appearance, the hand of sorcery is always the cursed hand. A left hand that is too gifted and too agile is the sign of a nature contrary to right order, of a perverse and devilish disposition: every lefthanded person is a possible sorcerer, properly to be distrusted.

With the essay by Victor Turner we turn to one of the most influential anthropologists from the British tradition to write about ritual. " In collaboration with Ndembu (East Africa) ritual experts, whose fascination with symbolism he shared, Turner developed an empirically rich symbolic anthropology that drew upon bodily, social, natural, and cosmological domains of life. Turners ethnography traces the dense polysemic associations made between natural objects, human body parts, blood and effluvia, and the social status of individuals in Ndembu society.

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