Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Pervertible Practices: Playing Anthropology in BDSM_Claire Dalmyn

Pervertible Practices: Playing Anthropology in BDSM_Claire Dalmyn

Ratings: (0)|Views: 478|Likes:
Published by yorku_anthro_conf
Abstract: This paper explores some lively infoldings of play and field at play in the multiple substantive and theoretical fields in which I am enmeshed in working with fellow practitioners of BDSM (bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadomasochism), specifically in queer women’s kink or “leatherdyke” communities in Toronto. This paper focuses in particular on questioning mainstream perceptions of kink practice and culture by unpacking taken-for-granted understandings of dirt, pollution, and sexual alterity, using the “Scene” concept of pervertibles (items not specifically intended for kink used in play) to bridge theory and practice. This is precisely the sort of playful tactical gesture I wish to embody in using my situated subjectivity to not only to “work” kink with the “tools” of anthropology, but to “play” anthropology with theoretical and methodological “toys” of kink culture and practice.

Keywords: BDSM, kink, play, pollution
Abstract: This paper explores some lively infoldings of play and field at play in the multiple substantive and theoretical fields in which I am enmeshed in working with fellow practitioners of BDSM (bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadomasochism), specifically in queer women’s kink or “leatherdyke” communities in Toronto. This paper focuses in particular on questioning mainstream perceptions of kink practice and culture by unpacking taken-for-granted understandings of dirt, pollution, and sexual alterity, using the “Scene” concept of pervertibles (items not specifically intended for kink used in play) to bridge theory and practice. This is precisely the sort of playful tactical gesture I wish to embody in using my situated subjectivity to not only to “work” kink with the “tools” of anthropology, but to “play” anthropology with theoretical and methodological “toys” of kink culture and practice.

Keywords: BDSM, kink, play, pollution

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: yorku_anthro_conf on Aug 31, 2011
Copyright:Attribution No Derivatives

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/06/2014

pdf

 
Playing Dirty: Pervertible Practices and Kinky Anthropology
Claire Dalmyn
MA Condidate, Social Anthropology, York University, Toronto, ON
The Magic Store: A Prologue
 T
here’s a magic store in Toronto that sells suppliesand trick kits to hobbyists and perormingmagicians. They also sell cotton rope in a coupleo dierent weights and a handul o brightcolours. While acknowledging that just aboutevery kind o rope has its relative advantagesand its proponents among kink practitioners, I’ll admit thatI’m a an o magician’s rope. Besides being strong enoughand holding knots well enough or most ground work (thatis, bondage applications that do not involve the addedtensions o partially or completely suspending the boundparty o the ground), it is sot and easy to care or, and it isthese things because, unlike ropes used in climbing, boatingor industrial contexts, this rope is actually constructedor tying up people. It’s also airly inexpensive and easy toobtain, two common advantages o pervertible materials.I learned about this store rom a riend. I’m not sure how sheheard about it. On her rst visit, my riend told me, whenshe asked the sales assistant to measure and cut her somestandard-or-bondage lengths o bold blue rope, the assistantasked i she was a proessional magician. My riend reportstaking a deep breath and weighing the virtues o lying to thissmiling stranger, asking hersel “What would Midori do?”
1
 “No,” my riend told the sales assistant, “I’m a pervert.”“Oh . . .” The older woman paused, blinked, then smiled againbrightly. “You know we have costumes, too—tell your riends!”
Messy, Sticky and Miasmal: Fertilizing DirtyAnthropologie
s
Woody Guthrie carves a sign into his guitar saying “thismachine kills fascists.”  Ani DiFranco says, “every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.” I say, “here’s a monkey wrench; if you bop me on thehead long enough, maybe I’ll wake up for a second.” Bern (1998)
1
A well-known and very charismatic kink educator and perormanceartist.
 
Abstract
 This paper explores some livelyinoldings o play and eld at playin the multiple substantive andtheoretical elds in which I amenmeshed in working with ellowpractitioners o BDSM (bondageand discipline, domination andsubmission, sadomasochism),specically in queer women’s kink or “leatherdyke” communitiesin Toronto. This paper ocusesin particular on questioningmainstream perceptions o kink practice and culture by unpackingtaken-or-granted understandingso dirt, pollution, and sexualalterity, using the “Sceneconcept o pervertibles (itemsnot specically intended or kink used in play) to bridge theoryand practice. This is precisely thesort o playul tactical gestureI wish to embody in using mysituated subjectivity to not onlyto “work” kink with the “tools”o anthropology, but to “play”anthropology with theoreticaland methodological “toys” o kink culture and practice.
Keywords
BDSM, kink, play, pollution
     1     5     |      C     l    a     i    r    e     D    a     l    m    y    n
 
this question was not asked, I suggested,was that o course this is where kinky sexbelongs—isn’t it? Here among the dirt andthe danger and the hyped-up salaciousness.How could all that spanking and pinchingand leather and latex be anything but dirty? Ido not suggest that BDSM is not or cannot bedirty; it can, and that’s wonderul. I will argue,however, that there are problems with takingsuch a proposition or granted. In order totackle these problems, we must rst roll up oursleeves and question what we mean by “dirty.” The panel o which the rst iterationo this paper was a part was titled “DirtyAnthropologies: Messy, Sticky and Miasmal.Thisis a name worth savouring. Messy is smudged,unpolished, dishevelled, and a perhaps a littlecare-worn. It’s a work in progress. It is clutteredconusion, the blurring o boundaries, the tears,bleeds and leaks that play merry havoc withany eort at neat categories. Sticky is tangibleand inescapably material, inescapable becauseit clings, trails ater you in streamers. It spreads,grabs hold o new bodies and tangles them upin the web. It is the stains and traces that staywith you and advertise or others to see, atleast i they know what to look or. Miasma isthe smear, the congealing, the aura that hatesto be ignored (Taussig 2004). It crawls up yournose like swamp vapour, or smoke, like cloudso ash and fies. It is the index, extending theevent in space and time (Massumi 2005). This isrich dirt, un to play in, and a ecund material-semiotic eld or dirty anthropology. But whatdoes this dirt entail, where does it arise, andwhat gives it the power to compel and control?
Pollution and Power: Playing withPerversion
In discussing dirt and anthropology, I would beremiss i I did not acknowledge the debt owedto Mary Douglas or her classic exploration o the “is” and “does” o dirt in Purity and Danger(1966). Dirt, Douglas argues, “is essentiallydisorder. There is no absolute dirt” (1966: 2).Dirt is “the by-product o a systematic orderingand classication o matter, in so ar as orderinginvolves rejecting inappropriate elements”(Douglas 1966:35). It is contextual (your bare The rhizome is a multiplicity, an eclectic andeccentric assemblage o heterogeneous elements(Deleuze and Guattari 1987). It grows, not likea tree, always-outwards according to stricthierarchal principles, but together and apartin every direction, jumping registers in everydimension. “The rhizome itsel assumes verydiverse orms, rom ramied surace extensionin all directions to concretion into bulbs andtubers. When rats swarm over each other. Therhizome includes the best and the worst: potatoand couchgrass” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987:6).As a mode o relating not to but in the world,the rhizome is connection incarnate, anythingto everything. It is about links and leaks andlines o fight, plateaus o intensity, and wetrack it by mapping its breaks and fows ratherthan by tracing its external-internal divisions.Growing in rhizomes is a minor science, a nomadhabit, like Levi-Strauss’ bricolage (1968) and deCerteau’s poaching (Jenkins 1992), a tacticalpractice o using what’s at hand. It is cobblingtogether an experiential world using whateverodds and ends you can lay claim to just longenough to recycle them and set them movingin new ways, new contexts. My hope in growinga paper around ound objects—stories, tools,toys, art, which are not seeds but cuttings romother rhizomatic growths, snatched up andreplanted—is that they will intensiy aects andsensations without oreclosing possibility onwhat those intensications will produce. Thisis dirty work! Growing potatoes and crabgrass,you cannot help getting mud under your nailswhile the rhizome “evolves by subterraneanstems and fows, along river valleys or traintracks; it spreads like a patch o oil” (Deleuzeand Guattari 1987:7). The bricoleur and poachertoo are sweaty, smeared with blood and enginegrease and coughing up lungsul o sawdust.When I presented a version o this paper at thePlaying the Field conerence at York Universityin November 2009, I postulated that ewattendees had likely thought to ask why is apaper about BDSM play practices was on the“Dirty Anthropologies” panel?
2
One reason2
The acronym BDSM is a composite o bondage anddiscipline (B&D), domination/submission (D/s, D&S) andsadomasochism (SM, S/M, S&M).
     1     6     |      C     l    a     i    r    e     D    a     l    m    y    n
‘Playing the Field’ Conference Proceedings | Social Anthropology | York University 2009
 
‘Playing the Field’ Conference Proceedings | Social Anthropology | York University 2009
even constitutes its whole machinery. We can seethis implosion enacted in dense entanglementso contamination, contagion and the collapseo causality wherein trauma, disease, madness,immorality, weakness, crime, violence, ‘incorrect’politics, treachery, and the ‘national security’boogeyman o the age (communism whenthe essay was published, terrorism now) all atonce precipitate and ollow rom sexual alterity(see also Puar 2007). Perversion spreads likea virus. The discovery o perverse inclinationsis especially grave in people in positions o public infuence, with the capacity to erodecommunity morals. The greatest threat, in acultural context which ears and treasures the‘innocence’ and neuroplasticity o children, issexual deviance on the part o parents, teachersor anyone with access to minors. Perversityleaves traces in the fesh, stains too stubbornto wash out but easy enough to camoufage, sothat the hope o identiying the ‘bad guys’ andtagging us or rehabilitation or exterminationremains always just over the horizon.Rubin’s call or a radical politics o sex beginswith the recognition that this sexual hierarchyis not inevitable, that there is no “natural” or“correct” way o ordering: just as there is noabsolute dirt, so too are there no absoluteperversions. The ordering we live with is notrandom or arbitrary—it has a huge weight o authority on its side, all the inertia o historyand power, powers to produce meaning andpowers to enorce order—but neither is itimmutable. Re-ordering, or even somethinglike de-ordering the normative hierarchy tocrat a theory and practice o benign sexualvariation, is possible. This isn’t a goal we shouldwork towards simply because we can, nor outo benevolent compassion or those peopleaected by it—because we are all aected byit. Donna Haraway says regarding “queering” asa radical political methodology that “queeringspecic normalized categories is not or theeasy risson o transgression but or the hope o livable worlds” (1994:60). Other congurationsare possible; dirt and danger are situational,and the dierence between compost andmanure is whether you’re downwind. Nothing isinherently dirty or kinky or sexy (not even that).eet are clean on the sidewalk but dirty on thedining room table), relative, and also necessarybecause without disorder to order against,order would not work. Dirt and disorder entailanomaly and ambiguity, as Douglas eloquentlydemonstrates in connecting the power o dirtwith its metamorphoses rom recognizable“something” out o place, the unwantedleavings o its source, into a state o totaldisintegration, total non-dierentiation: matterwithout orm, raw creative potential (161-2).Disorder is not dangerous so long as it staysunder control, in the place scripted or it by ruleso pollution and purication, but slippery as ascale-less sh it keeps wriggling out o hand.Gayle Rubin, my predecessor in Leatheranthropology, takes up resonant ideas aroundpollution and control with regard to sexualitiesin her antastic essay “Thinking Sex: Notes or aRadical Theory o the Politics o Sexuality,whichplumbs the historical production o sexualityand sexual deviance (1984). In this work Rubinoutlines a provisional hierarchy o “good” and“bad” sex. She illustrates two complementaryspatial ramings with graphic diagrams: the“charmed circle” o “Good, Normal, Natural,Blessed Sexuality” in the centre pushing “Bad,Abnormal, Unnatural, Damned Sexuality” tothe marginal “outer limits” (Rubin 1984:281),and “the struggle over where to draw the line”on a slippery slope to arrest the easy slideinto depravity (1984:282).According to Rubin’sanalysis, hegemonically-sanctioned “good sex”takes place between monogamous marriedheterosexual pairs o human adults o the samegeneration, in private and without imbricationo manuactured objects, pornography orcommercial transactions, while hegemonically-censured “bad sex” deviates, in a compoundingashion, rom this ideal. BDSM play is “bad”; vanillaucking is “good” (the diagrams, interestingly,omit any explicit mention o consent).
 
Rubin is less concerned in this article with whya particular practice, identity or subject positiongets placed where it does than with how thisorder is maintained, and what a radical politicso sex needs to change it. As with the situationsdescribed by Douglas, it is the implosion o dirtand danger that lubricates the system’s gears,
     1     7     |      C     l    a     i    r    e     D    a     l    m    y    n

Activity (2)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->