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Annu.Rev. Anthropol.1993.22:133-55
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Departmentsof Social Studies of Medicineand Anthropology,McGillUniversity,
Montreal, QuebecH3Z2L4 Canada
epistemology, embodiment,subjectivity,

agency, nature/culture dialectic

Since the bodymediatesall reflection and action uponthe world, its centrality
to the anthropological endeavorseems assured, but a perusal of the canon of
social and cultural anthropologyindicates that the body’s explicit appearance
has been sporadic throughout the history of the discipline. In muchthe same
way as Munnnoted that the topic of time has often been "handmaidento other
anthropological frames and issues" (178:93), the body, despite its ubiquity,
has suffered a similar fate, thus remaining largely unproblematized.The majority of researchers have in effect simply"bracketed"it as a black box and set
it aside.
There have been recent reviews of topics that implicate the body, including
the politics of reproduction (81), humansexuality (39), the emotions(164),.
and shamanisms(6). A proleggmenato an anthropological physiology has also
appeared(20), but aside from two edited collections from the 1970s(14, 201)
and one position piece (159), there has been no substantial review of research
in connection with an anthropologyof the bodyper se. I believe this lacuna
highlights a long-standing ambivalenceon the part of manyanthropologists



Annual Reviews

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134 LOCK
toward theorizing the body, an ambivalencethat is gradually being dispersed
and replaced by someexciting developments.
Keat has pointed out that contemporaryphilosophers and social scientists
havespent a great deal of time discussing the distinctiveness of humanbeings,
but at the sametime have held finn to an assumptionabout the "non-distinctiveness" of the humanbody (127). Because humanevolution and variation
amonghumanpopulations have always been part of the anthropological bailiwick, anthropologists have proved a good deal more alert to the theoretical
challenge posed by the bodythan have other social scientists (237:8). Nevertheless, they havetended to accept that the physical bodyfalls "naturally" into
the domainof the basic sciences and is therefore beyondthe pervue of social
and cultural anthropology. Until recently the individual bodyusually has been
conceptualized as a universal biological base upon which culture plays its
infinite variety (78, 94, 189), although one or two researchers have sought
counter this position (12, 14, 201).
A shift in perspective can be observed since the late 1970s. Berthelot has
recently noted that the "body wouldappear to be everywhere,(13). Paradoxically, since closer attention has been paid to bodily representation, the body
has becomemore elusive, fluid, and uncontrollable. Manyresearchers who
have attemped to theorize and grapple with epistemology have becomeprogressively eclectic in their efforts to portray the bodyin its infinite complexity
while becomingincreasingly aware that the "problem"of the body will not be
settled (66, 154, 203,227,228, 232, 233).
Althoughcertain sociologists continue to create elaborate bodytypologies
(72, 236), anthropologists, by contrast, have virtually abandonedthis project,
although the problemof framing analyses, delineating boundaries, and demarcating just whatis signified by the "body"remainsa source of creative tension.
Decenteringthe physical bodyof the basic sciences and questioning the epistemologicalassumptionsentailed in the production of natural facts has radicalized and relativized our perspective on several recalcitrant dichotomies, in
particular, nature/culture, self/other, mind/body,while at the sametime inciting increased reflexivity with respect to anthropologicalpractices as a whole.
In this essay, I selectively limit mycoverageto those researchers whohave
endeavoredexplicitly to situate the bodyas a product of specific social, cultural, and historical contexts; who have engaged the nature/culture or
mind/bodydebates in a substantial way; or whohave grappled with the poetics
and politics of the productionand reproductionof bodies. This type of research
has brought us to a radical position with respect to the truth claims of the
medical and epidemiological sciences. Myobjective in emphasizing this approach is not to create an impasse with scientific knowledge, but to move
toward an improveddialogue, while remaining inherently suspicious of universal truths, entrenchedpowerbases, and intransigent relativisms.

182.Annual Reviews www. stimulated anthropological imagination in the early part of this century about howthe body"is good to think with. by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. 103. 50. deportment. Suchclassificatory systems. and parts of the body. and social domains. 8. domestic architecture. Anthropol. 231. with prescriptions about bodyfluids. Analyses of metaphorical and metonymical uses of natural symbols in reproducingthe social order haveresulted in a substantial literature on homologous relationships commonlyconstructed amongphysical topography. depilation. Related research has shownhowsocial categories are literally inscribed on and into the body. Hertz claimed that the asymmetricalpractices and associated intellectual and moral representations about the right and left hands are categories "anterior to all individual experience" and products of the "structure of social thought. which. the corporeal bodywas tabula rasa. and exclusion (49. whether used primarily in ritual or in everydaylife. correspondto sociocultural mappingof time and space (172. are also used to justify hierarchy. 161. Rev. 109. and inclusion. unity. 227) has influenced anthropological theorizing since the end of the last century. social arrangements. 106.22:133-155. 239-41)." makinga distinction betweenthe universal physical bodyand the "higher" morally-imbued"socialized" body(52).acts as a signifier of local social and moral worlds (10. now recognized as a product of Westernmetaphysics(15. Hertz. Douglas gave emphasisto the variation apparent in body symbolismthat she asserted arose from the structural constraints of . Durkheim’spupil. 182. cosmetics. Downloaded from arjournals. 128. CULTIVATINGTHE BODY135 Annu. 206." He concludedthat such transcendent representations appear as "facts of nature" to the individuals on whomthey are practiced (101:22). MAKING THE BODY SOCIAL A perceived opposition between nature and culture. 16. nevertheless he demonstrate the interdependence of the physical. inspired by Hertz’s essay.annualreviews. 90. As a British strucmralist explicitly at odds with the universalism of both Freud and Levi-Strauss. the "first and most natural tool of man"an artifact from which the social order was created (171:75)." After arguing for a biological basis to the dominanceof the right hand. Maussbelieved that all bodily expression learned. 1993. 207. difference. and ornamentation. clothing. Durkheimin The Elementary Formsof the Religious Life wrote that "manis double. was struck by how"[a] slight organic asymmetryis madethe symbolof absolute moral polarity" (58:1). 240).annualreviews. Evans-Pritchard.227. Such homologies create and reproduce a moral landscape through time and space--the dominantsocial and moral order--an arrangementthat researchers have assumedremains largely unquestionedbecause it is taken as "natural" (7. while overtly embracing principles of holism. 244). For personal use only.243). and both he and Van Gennepshowedthat body techniques. For the Annalesgroup. 106. 192. hair styles. 142. through comparativetaxonomy.

annualreviews. of text and enactment). He concedes that because cognitive structures are biologically grounded. a broadeningof the anthropologyand sociology of knowledge to include analyses of scientific texts (21. It brings with it the difficulty of people both having and being bodies (236:1). the material and the social" (54:370). . Overthe past twenty years.the recouperation of the female body and its politicization by feminists (81. Nevertheless any connection between knowledgeand practice remains essentially obscure. and from different direction. in other words. found no simple analog betweensociety and body symbolism(225). For personal use only. 136 LOCK society. Ellen has called for recognition of a dialectical relationship between"the cerebral. 1993. conceptual approachesto the bodyhave tried to overcomea radical separation of knowledgeand practice (in poststructuralist terms. subjectivity and its relation to biology and society cannot be ignored.bodyclassifications cannot be arbitrary. However.Skultans. Douglas. Anthropol. The shifts in orientation of authors such as Ellen. Ellen also claims that in another sense culture can be dominant. nor as a biological black box cut off from "mind. howthe bodyfunctions as both a "transmitter" and "receiver" of information. and others stimulated a fundamentalreformulation of the problem of the body as one of semiosis. is then redefined and reified largely in terms of culturally determinedcategories--rather than perception dominating classification. The question of the bodyrequires more than reconciling theory with practice. including the body. However. Sahlins’ analysis of basic color discrimination posited selective attention to biological universals as being culturally constructed (213).22:133-155. are nowprivileged. as does the problemof individual meanings attributed to cultural symbolsand their manipulation. in turn a function of the positioning of the individual in society. or that are essentially dialectical or montage-likein form. while other anthropologists have claimed that physical structures not only constrain perception but also determinecertain formsof universally-foundpictorial representation (173). analyzing the significance of menstruation and menopausein Annu. Rev. related in turn to relationships of power. Downloaded from arjournals. culture simply provides the appropriate lexical labels to affix to physical sensations.annualreviews. Interpretations that seek explicitly to collapse mind/bodydualities.Annual Reviews www. 110). largely through decentering the cognitive construction of by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08." and nature/culture and mind/bodydualities are self-consciously interrogated. it is the classificatory systemitself that becomesconcretized. Douglas was uncompromisinglyrelativistic in her claim that every "natural" expression is culturally determined(50). 141) have had a particular influence on the anthropology of the body and the kinds of questions asked about bodily representation and its relationship to practice. The body is no longer portrayed simply as a template for social organization.and nature. This conceptual shift mirrors theoretical changes that have taken place throughout anthropology and other social sciences. 105.

151." He posits that efficacy of ritual and healing ceremonieslies in the cultural framingof subjectively experienced feelings of inchoateness (16.185). 130). 33. Formulatedin opposition to Levi-Strauss. 27. along with de Certeau (40) and Elias (53). bodily practices mediatea personal realization of social by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. for example. Rev. . Turner has pointed out that both the Germantradition of philosophical anthropology and Merleau-Ponty’s work. Bourdieucan be accused of ignoring dissent and social transformation. 17. Turner(241). 109.annualreviews. but he has had. 43.22:133-155. Several anthropologists have used phenomenologicaltheory as a starting point to counter what they see as the mistakenenterprise of interpreting embodiedexperience in terms of cognitive and linguistic modelsof interpretation (31. 145. and then turns to a second transposition in which"patterns of bodyuse engendermental imagesand instill moral qualities" (109:131). 44.Annual Reviews www. grounded in Husserlian philosophy (174). Jackson uses Kurankoinitiation rites to showthat. Oneapproachhas been to try to preemptthe emergenceof classical analytical dualities at the site of productionby openingup the black box and conceptualizing embodimentas prior to consciousness. Drawingon a reformulation of Mauss’concept of habitus. it was designed to overcomea rigid dualism betweenmental structures and the word of material objects.annualreviews. 242). conceptual dichotomiesinevitably metasticize into one another. 24. their reproductionthrough enculturation. is concernedthat the semantically produced bodyis reduced to the status of a sign. Downloaded from arjournals. Jackson’s "radical empiricism" is "based upon bodily awarenessof the other in oneself" (p. 195). 32. Annu. B. point toward a phenomenologyof embodimentthat is relevant to the social sciences (23. 107-9. Devischeasserts that symptoms of illness are culturally patterned manifestations of a "dismemberedsymbolic operation. whichis both epistemologically unsoundand renders the body passive (109:124). CULTIVATINGTHE BODY137 As a result.Jackson argues that creative freedomin mimeticplay is circumscribedby the constraining habitus. 117. For personal use only. EMBODIMENT:SUBJECTIVITY AND THE SOCIAL ORDER Bourdieustarted out his influential theory of practice by supporting phenomenology to counter what he understood as a "misplaced objectivity. 67. see also 194. 89. 74. in a discussion reminiscentof V. Anthropol. 256)." He was concernedthat practical activity should not be constituted simply as representation. 73. Jackson. Bourdieu’s theory was explicitly grounded in the repetition of unconscious mundane bodily practices (19). pervasive influence on anthropological thinking about the bodily practices of everydaylife. He takes inspiration from Boas’ workon gestures and postures (15) as well as from Maussand Bourdieu in order to develop a theory of embodimentgroundedin mimeticism. and their relationship to discourse (16.

sexual activity. 234).org by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. are normativeconstructions that have significance for the creation of explanations about inequality. 215). see also 57. however. THE CULTURALCONSTRUCTIONOF SELF AND OTHER The concept of a reflexive "I.annualreviews. an approachthat allows entry into the communicative aspect of the lived worldof Tamils. although he demonstrates . and emotions has contributed to a questioning of the Annu. Downloaded from arjournals. betweenindividuals and society and betweenindividuals and nature. and the flow of bodily fluids are culturally constructedand contained. 146.annualreviews. has proposed a theory of embodiment drawing on both Merleau-Pontyand Bourdieu as a paradigmfor anthropological research (31). In a somewhatsimilar vein.22:133-155. 198. and has at the same time renewed anthropologicalinterest in the body(79. 205. Kaufmanhas shownthat biography created around serious illness represents both knowledgeof the self and an expressionof "part of the self" (125. and for the moral order (97.where mobility and independenceare highly valued and reinforced by the medical system. Daniel argues that Tamils conceptualize themselves as having different kinds of bodies and personalities based on the qualitites taken in fromthe soil at their birthplace. misfortune. 1993. 125). Csordas.Annual Reviews www. Anthropol. 44). is essential to the "view from nowhere"characteristic of a post-Enlightenment approach to knowledge(143). which in turn has consequencesfor the individual in society (46. body. disembodiedself as a gold standard for successful personhood. often produces contradictions in individual embodiment(73. 119. 89. 165). illness. Fluid boundaries. he showshowgendered relationships. Comparative research the cultural construction of concepts of mind. self. Obeyesekere examines the process whereby public symbols relating to the body becomeinfused with personal meaning (187). but that does not explicitly engage a decentering of social science epistemologies with respect to either personsor bodies. that no radical perspective on embodimentemerges." a mindful self independent of the body and nature at large. 179. Personal experience of majorphysical disability and illness has resulted in several movingaccounts that testify to the powerful effect of changes in embodiment on subjectivity. 199. 212. 258). Devische examines how this accomplished through body boundary signification amongthe Yaka of Zaire related to their concepts of spatio/temporal order (43. 138 LOCK thus producing "symbolic closure" (102). The impact of disability on patients in North America. Usinga semioticapproach. Daniel then inserts experiential daily life into a larger cosmicand religious order (34). For personal use only. working on charismatic healing in America.rational. Rev. His reliance on psychoanalytically derived categories ensures.

248). see also 188). he explains Hindupain and loneliness through an analysis of love tales and songs (257). 104. It has been suggested that an anthropology of the body should include a theory of emotion--that such a theory could help to bridge post-Enlightenment epistemological dichotomies (159).annualreviews.22:133-155.Annual Reviews www. Others have sought a "movingtogether reason. Desjarlais takes issue with research that interprets local discourse on emotion solely as a culturally-sanctionedrhetorical strategy with possible political import (41).annualreviews. these concepts. Rosaldo (209) stress that emotions inevitably involve both meaningand feeling. 146.for example. and suggests that feeling can be portrayed in part through empathy--througha "visceral engagementwith symbolic form. Lewis (146) and M. Desjarlais makesa case for incorporating "felt experience" into analyses of emotionon the basis of workamongthe Yolmoof Nepal (see also 112). People everywherelearn to attach culturally constructed labels to subjective by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. For personal use only. Zimmerman. 42). taste. and body"while seeking to deconstruct conventional dichotomizedsocial science categories derived from Westernphilosophical thought (198:141. Desjarlais attempts to represent a phenomenology of aesthetic experience. In contrast. and reductionistic approaches fall to consider what Rosaldo terms "embodied thought" (see also 112. act as bridging conceptsacross bodily and semantic domains. with respect to healthy and sick bodies (41. emotion. deplores what he terms "the mourning paradigm" of muchmedical anthropology. . Anthropol. 113). semantically different across cultures. Jenkins and the Goodswork toward a politics of embodiedemotion(84. 137). 210. see also 36)." Drawingon Bourdieu’s politics of aesthetics. However. Thus emotions cannot simply be captured as either cognitive judgmentsor visceral reactions. Downloaded from arjournals. with great potential for a politics of aesthetics groundedin felt experience(35. Ethnographic accounts in which Annu. including aesthetics of harmonyand control.a recent review has shown howmost extant research works within the frameworkof the very dichotomy--cultural sentiments vs natural passions--that a critical approach seeks to overcome(164). 163. and Bateson’sphysiologyof aesthetics (9). psychiatric lens. In discussions of the role of the state in authorizing and prescribingparticulax forms of emotional discourse. Hequestions the assertion that investigations into the subjective experience of distress must inevitably be epistemologically unsound. CULTIVATINGTHE BODY139 effectively the choice individuals have of adopting or rejecting public symbols. 1993. 65. and touch take center stage haveopenedup newhorizons. a paradigm that describes the ills of the word through a pathological. Rev. Favret-Saadacautions that there are limits to the human capacity for symbolization and that humanemotionmayat times be devoid of representation (64. sound.

exchange.Annual Reviews www." has been roundly castigated for not spelling out the implementationof the "micro-physics" of powerin praxis (98). one in which the relationship of powerto knowledgeis madeexplicit ( by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. Comaroffasserts that Zionismfunctions as a resistance to the infiltration of the hegemonicpowerapparatus into the structures of the natural world(p. Rev. coun- . For example. Boddypays less direct attention to history than does Comaroff. 70). 251). Nevertheless. working instead to dissect the "informal logic of everydaylife" in Hofriyat. The reintroduction of history into an anthropology of the body must be attributed largely to Foucault. resulting in the production of docile bodies (69. northern is possible through a negation of the Other--usually menor Zayran (spirits)--to play with ambiguity." institutionalized through disciplinary techniques.22:133-155. 197).annualreviews. see also 196. however. 140 LOCK Annu. and bodily restraint. She also uncovers transformations between Tshidi consciousness and the consciousness of European colonizers throughout the colonial period in which bodily practice is central (see also 231). Anthropol. Althoughpresenting no direct challenge to the dominantcolonial order. 261). in whichthe "savage native" becomesthe target of disciplinary practices including regimensof hygiene. BODIES DOCILE AND RESISTANT Foucault’s discussion of biopowerhas had a profound effect on anthropological representations of the body. and the cultural productions of the womenthemselves. healing. and nurturing (24:260). manifest largely in ritual and narrative associated with the Z~r cult. trance. For personal use only. institutionalized largely throughpublic health practices (25). Morerecently. whichhe critiqued with respect to its "objectifying practices. through an analysis of Tshidi precolonial cosmologyand ritual. to create a reflexive. 1993. nor simplya liminal interlude. although Marxalso has been influential (169). sexuality. She is concernedwith the inherent contradiction betweenthe cultural construction of womenin Hofriyataccording to the male dominated Islamicderived ideology. Downloaded from arjournals. concernedwith the epistemic shift to modernity. Comarofffocuses on bodily signification as societal memory--significantchanges in the social and political order must be accompanied by changes in the "mnemonicscheme inscribed in physical form" (24:124. Foucault’s work has profoundly shaped the anthropological understanding of hierarchy. Suchritualized resistance is neither apolitical escapism. but a serious attempt to address oppression in a situation fraught with danger. 151.208. Central to this theory is the concept of "surveillance. Comaroffhas examinedthe dialectical interplay betweennineteenth century medicine and the colonizing project. Comaroffdiscusses howpolitico-ritual control is imposedon the domainsof production.annualreviews. Boddy discusses howwomenin Hofriyat are irrevocably madeinto "living vessels" of their culture’s moral values through pharaonic circumcision (17:16).

and images that condense around specific events. she showsthat truth claims can be asserted through emotion. Rather than focusing on the physical domination of subjects by institutions (5. decontextualized signs and symptomsof biomedicine. Seremetakisanalyzes the expression of pain individual subjects. It has also been shownthat in institutional settings. although muted.annualreviews. SICKNESS AS CULTURAL PERFORMANCE Until recently biomedical categories have been exempt on epistemological groundsfromanthropological scrutiny. She analyzes poetics.annualreviews. . metaphors. imbuedwith social meaning. Downloaded from arjournals. Like Comaroff. This gendered discourse. 69. and discusses Manideath rites with respect not only to history and society. is similarly concerned with "identifying strategies of resistance that emergeand subsist on the margins" (224:1).Annual Reviews www. 83). she argues for a mnemonicsof the by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. Anthropol. is nevertheless empowering. Good’sconcept of a "semantic illness network"(105). CULTIVATINGTHE BODY141 terhegemonicdiscourse that permits womento someextent to renegotiate their sense of self (16). and becomesnot only a signifier of belongingand order. has been widely emulated (77. For personal use only. Thusin the Z~. 215. Historicized. The body. Seremetakis. was established early in medical anthropological circles (3. unnoticed and unrecorded. 28. or so muchexotica. individual distress is systematicallytransformedinto the amoral." the women (17:9). in particular death laments.stimulated by the close attention paid for the first time to the everydaylives of women. Bodilydissent has been interpreted until recently as marginal. in her work on the Inner Mani. interpreting it as a challenge to hegemonicorder.children. in whichpopular illness categories are interpreted part of congeries of words. pathological. the historical consciousness of the village is expressed implicitly through the bodies of "its most potent icons. 170. as a means female empowerment. Thesedual modesof bodily expression-belonging and dissent--are conceptualized as culturally produced and in dialectical exchangewith the externalized ongoingperformanceof social life. Rev. is nowhistorically situated.22:133-155. Through an examination of the semiotics of expressed grief and its relationship to shared moral inferences. thus ascribing it individual agency. groundedethnography. Boddy claims. but also an active forumfor the expressionof dissent and loss. and concludesthat it is particularly whenthe subject is in conflict with the social order that emotionsare forcefully expressed(224:4). which have major consequencesfor the well being of patients. 183).org/aronline Annu. or else has been passed over. although the existence of discrepancies betweendiagnostic taxonomiesand the subjective experience of illness. 1993. 231). and other "peripheral" peoples has led to a reformulation of theory. but also to the cultural management of bodies both living and dead.

152). can usefully be interpreted as cultural performance. 92. 133. This critical approach medical anthropology encourages epistemological questions and has also spurred anthropologicalreflection about the sick bodyas a lively participant in the social order. aesthetic.22:133-155. in part. 147. in commonwith the entire domain of semantics of emotional states.Annual Reviews www. together with spirit possession and related genres of cultural performancethrough whichsocial contradictions are enacted (1. and at other times fully conscious (149). 255). 51. 138.254). anthropologists have attempted to counter this pathologizing approach by explaining the specific cultural meaningsattributed to attacks of nerves and some have pointed out a relationship between the incidence of nerves and structural inequalities in society (38. Kirmayerpoints out that our "achingbodies remindus there are at least two orders of experience: the order of the body and the order of the text. this recognition has not usually been extendedto sickness in general. Kirmayersuggests that the bodyprovides "a structure of thought that is. 142 LOCK or is alternatively psychologizedand moralizedwith implications for the allocation of responsibility (26. bridging concepts between mind and body ( by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. Frankenbergpostulates a general theory of "sickness as cultural performance"(74). Locksuggests that nerves can be interpreted as cultural performance." inevitably related to emotional. The concept of nerves and other idioms of distress expressed in the polysemic language of natural symbols then become. and moral worlds (130:325). A performance approach to sickness has the ." and often medicalizedas "somatization" (211). 193). Although painful. 1993. 251. 242). extra-rational and disorderly. exorcismrites. they facilitate the acting out of "hidden transcripts" (223). sometimespartially articulated. Downloaded from arjournals.annualreviews. Rev. 186. 218. Narrative analysis of such concepts reveals that their employment is at times unconscious. Althoughparticipation in possession cults. and traditional healing and mourning rituals has long been recognized as cultural performance(117. 230. 74. 132. 150. and ScheperHughes&Lockdiscuss illness as bodily praxis (222). 38. although the potential for medicalization and depoliticization is considerable (131. 111. 118. 176. usually classified as a culture-bound or culturally-interpreted syndrome(92.In clinical literature nerves are characterized as "disvalued bodily states. The widely disseminated cultural category of nerves/nervios/nervos/nevra. In trying to read the sick bodymore effectively. Thusbodily distress has both individual import and political possibility. 162). purposefully designed to bridge the expressive/instrumental dichotomy.annualreviews. nerves can be empowering--as everyday form of resistance. For personal use only." He discusses the body’s "insistence on meaning" and gives emphasis to howit presents itself in substance and action rather than simply being an implement for reflection and imagination. 177. Anthropol.245). part of the repertoire whereby those who lack overt power flex their muscles.

Scheper-Hughes examines the consequencesof the medicalization of these problems and the semi-willingnessof people to participate in this process becausethey share in part the samemoral world as their oppressors(218. historical. and the subjective experience of physical malaise. and to the malaise of modernity (151). AlthoughDiGiacomoagrees with Taussig (230) and the above authors that reification of disease entities reproducescapitalist ideology. 61). Similarly. peers. Onganalyzes attacks of spirit possession on the shop floor of multinational factories in Malaysia as part of a complexnegotiation in which youngwomen respondto violations of their genderedsense of self. she interprets an epidemicof nervoso as having multiple meanings:at times a refusal of men to continue demeaningand debilitating labor. Rev. For personal use only. Farmer has also shownthat epidemiological.annualreviews. drawingon Bateson. 133)--not all illness episodes represent . and for the voice of the individual sufferer to be accorded analytical status.Annual Reviews www. and then showingthe possibilities for individual resistance to this ideology (185). Most anthropologists working on the body wouldagree with this position (126. examinethe naturalization of the slimness ideal in America.relating this to values of control and release embedded in capitalist ideology. conveya subtle moral commentaryand indirect social censure of the hegemonicChinese social order (135).the "performance"of subjective experience. collective and personal delegitimation in local worlds. Farmer interprets "bad blood" and "spoiled milk" in Haiti as "moral barometers that submit private problems to public scrutiny" (59:62). In Scheper-Hughes’epic analysis of impoverishedshantytowndwellers in Northeast Brazil. The Nichters. the refusal of Japanese adolescents to go to school can be understoodas a mutedform of resistance to manipulationby families. DiG. 254). and the process of modernization (193). 133). difficult workconditions. and de Certeau’s semiotics of popular resistance. by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08." (p. and local narratives about disease etiology (60. see also 84. The Kleinmansanalyze narratives chronic pain in Chinato showthe association betweenchaotic political change at the national level. she also argues that reifying illness as resistance or protest potentially "recruits suffering into the service of an ideological agenda"(47:126). 193. Narratives. 1993. reconstructed from past events. Bourdieu. while paying attention to bodysemiosis and individual distress. and also in part a responseto the ongoing state of emergencyin everyday life (220. and teachers. 151. Anthropol.annualreviews.iacomo rejects this "moral economyof illness. Downloaded from arjournals. see also 231). and politico-economicanalyses of AIDSin Haiti are inadequate unless attention is given to individual Annu. CULTIVATINGTHE BODY 143 potential to foregroundthe sickening social order. at times a response of women to a violent shock or tragedy.22:133-155. calling for "randommisfortune" to be recognized as an etiological category. She suggests that nervos has been used as a metaphorfor hunger and child malnutrition in northeast Brazil becauseof the inherent dangersthere of openly discussing malnutrition and its causes (218). 135.

Feldmandiscusses how. Rev. He documentsthe convergence of body and topographic space in Belfast." and "the clinic" (4. His criticism is that anthropologists tend only to contextualize the Other and ignore the "colonial nature of the intellectual relationship to whichthe contextualized other has for so long been subjected" (p.annualreviews.He explores the mimetic faculty--the compulsionto becomethe Other--in the history of the colonizer and the colonized in southwest Colombia. EPISTEMOLOGYAND BODY POLITICS Foucault’s premise that the language of biomedicine is produced through discourse. 1993.annualreviews. which becomesan instrument of agency when politicized. Annu. power is embeddedin the body. 250). to be discussed below." "physical examination. Whenthese author’s insights (see also 25) are combinedwith a decentering of scientific knowledge(21. ethnographicanalyses and narrative accounts reveal an intimate relationship betweenillness and politics. He deplores previous analyses of healing rituals that have focusedexclusively on the restoration of order. Workingin Northern Ireland. but nevertheless. Youngwas probably the first anthropologist to question expicitly whyepiste- . AND AGENCY Taussig points out that "context" should not be thought of as a "secure epistemic nest in which our knowledgeeggs are to be safely hatched" (233:44). a compulsion that eliminates any simple telling of history or anthropology(233). 45).for montage. and showshowmaterial artifacts and politicized senses are used to simulate a "historical narrative in the flesh of the Other" (66:59).MIMESIS. has had a profound influence on howanthropologists have approachedbiomedical categories such as "disease. Individual bodies disappear (literally) and reemergethrough narrative reconstruction part of a terror-controlled moral and spatial order. MONTAGE." "patient. Taussig calls for "science of mediations"in whichSelf and Other are both explicitly implicated. Taussig and Feldmanincite a radical questioning of the epistemology of bodily knowledgethat claims to be culturally contextualized.Annual Reviews www. for the juxtaposition of "dissimilars"-.22:133-155. 71). creating its ownobjects of analysis ( 144 LOCK protest (against childhoodtraumaor social inequality). Downloaded from arjournals. and talks instead of the minglingof chaos. ALTERITY. following Nietzche. Feldmanclaims that the ethnicity of the body is built in its dismembermentand disfigurement in NorthernIreland--it is madeinto a political token whichbecomespart of local lore--a recitation of the deadwith whichto organize historical experience. 140). humor. For personal use by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08.and danger--a disorder that can also be liberating and healing (232). Anthropol. the body ceases to exist as stable analytic category over time and in space.

158. 120. linked to established differences betweenthe epidemiology of heart disease. the fetus and morerecently the embryoas patients. 190. situated discourse. Comparativeand historical documentationof the "discovery" of diseases (114.255). 154. 251). This work has been complementedrecently by a radical approach to all medical knowledgeand practice. 123.especially in medicalencounters. for example. which seeks explicitly to expunge the shadowof Occidental epistemologylurking even in the culturally sensitive workof an earlier epoch(2. and the egg and the sperm (168). and breast cancer in Japan and the West. 231. 115. 204. 88. Rev. the conversion of distress into medicalized illness and deviance (45. Lock’s work on menopausein Japan has shownthat reporting of symptoms at the end of menstruationis significantly different fromthat whichis taken to be universal. 124. 154. Emphasisis given to ethnoepistemology.annualreviews. 1993. then subject to medical management( by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. see also 23). 247) and of competingexplanatory systems through time and space (48. Adelson. This finding. in particular with respect to both immunology(167). 175. 121. 180. Martin documentshow metaphors of reproduction have changed over time. 202. 131.unpublishedPhDthesis. Bassett. 63. 158. Martinalso discusses to whatextent resistance to the dominantideologyrelates to ethnic and class differences (166). 217. For personal use only. unpublished PhDthesis. together with the creation of. 75.negative metaphors that reinforce a subjective experience of fragmentation and alienation amongAmerican women. the relationship of medical knowledgeto both transformations in basic science knowledgeand to social and political reformulations about what bodies and populations meanto society (61. 154. 166. 99. 216. Anthropol.annualreviews. 235). as well metaphorsof failure and dissolution built into the language associated with menstruation and menopause. 148. numerousanthropological analyses of biomedical and epiderniological discourse and classificatory systemshave appeared(28. stable in time and space. 157. She analyzes scientific textbooks to reveal gendered stereotypespresent in the scientific languageof biology.22:133-155. 134. suggests that "local biologies" maybe at work.160. and the cultural production of the bodyas an unstable contested object. McGill University) have contributed to the demise of biomedicallydefined body.Annual Reviews www. Since that time. 100. the result of ongoingencounters and exchanges between local and global knowledge. Downloaded from arjournals. 76. 144. see also Annu. CULTIVATINGTHE BODY145 mological scrutiny should be suspended for biomedicine (252. reflecting larger paradigmatic shifts in knowledgeproduction in the EuroAmericantradition. and the progressive reduction of life cyc~le transitions to biological events. see also N. influencing cultural constructions of professional and popular textual and narrative representations . McGillUniversity). osteoporosis. 217. "Howdo patients and practitioners knowwhat they know?"is a central question posed in the recent volumeon Asian medicine edited by Leslie and Young(144:14). 122. 253).

nevertheless. historical.Annual Reviews by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. 146 LOCK about the menopausalbody(154). 82). and of muchof contemporaryanthropological theorizing about mind (254-56). however. moral agency is located in a concept of mind. Youngnotes. Youngexaminesthe use of the category of post-traumatic stress disorder in treating VietnamWarveterans in a psychiatric institution." He showsthat this reality of multiple selves is not in accord with the "pareddown"self of psychiatry. While Youngagrees that the rational common-sense self does indeed exist.that everydaytalk. rational.annualreviews. whichchallenges the core of the post-Enlightenment philosophic tradition.therefore. but rather betweencultures and local biologies. he suggests that it must be repositioned and not "accepted on its ownterms" as the authentic self (254:81). gives the impression that consciousness apprehends itself through a numberof selves or "quasi-selves" that constitute the subject of the person’s experiences at somepoint in time and. furthermore. both of whichare subject to transformation in evolutionary. in contrast to psychiatric discourse." Youngconcludesthat the idea of multiple selves encourages an examination of our "mistaken faith in the unity of mind"(p. He showsthat in contemporarypsychiatric Annu. A central concern for Kaufert &O’Neil is the contested nature of the language of epidemiology and its . Theyalso discuss the Inuit languageof risk.22:133-155. that individuals are usually not troubled by inconsistencies among"narrative selves.annualreviews. poses one of the most radical challenges to date of psychological and psychiatric discourse. Anthropol. NORMALIZATIONAND RECONSTRUCTIONOF BODIES Foucault’s interest in the productionof bodies and their discipline and normalization through discursive formations has been extended by Armstrong. 124) showsthat an epidemiologial language of risk connectionwith neonatal and perinatal mortality rates is used by both clinicians and administrators to implementa policy of systematic evacuation for birth in southern hospitals. who examinesthe introduction of the "technologies of the survey"into turn-of-thecentury British medicine (4). which is at odds with the epidemiologicalperspective. and life cycle time bytes. For personal use only. Rev. 1993. It cannot be assumed. that dialectics exist betweenan infinity of cultures and a universal biology. Kaufert & O’Neil’s research amongthe Inuit the HudsonBay (123. Youngclaims that multiple selves are morally important because they give reasons for and meaning to a person’s purposeful acts. Young’swork. Downloaded from arjournals. and to movement through space [see Worthman for a scientific discussion of the "contingencyof corporeal selves" and for the emergent(as opposedto determined) properties of biology (249)]. and autonomousself. "the embodiedperson and not any particular self is the locus of moralresponsibility. identified with a common-sense notion of a unitary.

An aging population combined with bodily commoditization. developmentsin biomedical technology. Rabinowbelieves that the two poles of bodily practice and discourse discerned by Foucault--anatamopolitics and the control of populations--are in the process of being rearticulated into a "postdisciplinary" (rather than postmodern) "rationality" (203). "cast in biological metaphors. Justice describes howhealth programsin Nepal are evaluated in terms of universal biomedical measures and not with respect to local knowledge(116). in turn stimulated by circulating knowledgeabout an inherent unnaturalnessand inevitable decline in the female bodyonce past reproductive age.Middle-aged femalebodies are normalizedas nurturers of the elderly. Rev. In North Americathe language of risk has cometo dominate the vocabulary of popular.Annual Reviews www. Anthropol. with its implicit assumption of a universal normative body. 1993. This process will entail the remakingof nature into culture--into somethingartificial (203:242). but to fuel governmentinitiatives to restore the extendedfamily in which women’sbodies should continue to provide unpaid care for their elderly family members. CULTIVATINGTHE BODY147 relationship to the lived experience of the Inuit [see also Gifford’s analysis with respect to "lumps"in the breast (80)]. In recent years.In this climate only "selfish" women suffer menopausalproblems. has contributed to the transformation of the end of menstruation into a category of epidemiologicalrisk with major political consequences. particularly in genetic manipulation. Lock has shownhowprofessional and popular discourse about the end of menstruation is historically and culturally produced. For personal use only. with indigenous South Asian explanations about fertility. In light of an ethnographic study of HumanGenomeProject and its adjacent institutions and enterprises. 155). and policy making to such an extent that life-long drug therapy is recommended for virtually all middle-aged women. big bodies are desirable in manyparts of the world (22). Rabinow concludes that the potential for eugenic practices will differ fundamentally fromearlier social"Rabinow coins the term "biosociality" to gloss the type of autoproductionassociated with the new genetics. and conveysdifferent meaningsin Japan and North America. Downloaded from arjournals. anatomy. have increased possibilities for normalization of the body. thus techniquesof the survey are Annu. a discourse circulated as part of a Japanese national identity set up self-consciously in opposition to the West (154.In Japan.annualreviews. and medication. despite the presence of advancedcapitalism and ready access to North American scientific and popular by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. Underthis regime. etc (184). the concept of risk will . not to combatthe aging body.22:133-155. medical.annualreviews.a different discursive formation has ensured that the end of menstruation goes largely unmedicalized. Nichter contrasts the discourse of international health. Cassidy showsthat in contrast to the "food-secure" West. and Das discusses "the repressive ideology health" (37).

. with far reaching implications for fragmentation. is nowimagined away.Evenin this biosocial world of collage. 1993.’" thus classical analogies that assisted us in separating culture from nature no longer hold.the collapse of nature into culture is not uniform. she shows how. Anthropologists often find themselves or their work used in medicine or for political ends. an anthropology the bodyprovides an excellent forumto reflect not only on theoretical dilemmas. Despite increasing pressures we should. with the problematization of culture as a concept.annualreviews. they mayposition themselvesself-consciously with respect to their research findings. Annu. Strathern analyzes howtechnology"literally helps ’life’ to ’work. will exist side by side with earlier technologies and classificatory systems (203:245)." Nature will be "operationialized" for the "good"of society (see also 95. about "relatedness" between human beings. ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE BODY The relationship between theory and practice takes on special meaning for those writing about the by MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on 04/02/08. Contrasting the British and Melanesian conditions. 56. and be content with a body that refuses to holdstill. suggesting that the wayin whichchoices to assist reproduction are formulated will affect ideas about kinship and in turn.219. Marx(169) and Engels (55) discussed transformation of the body physical through physical labor and technology. culture’s invasion of nature is complete--the basic dualities of earlier anthropologicaltheory are exploded.Annual Reviews www. particularly of the female body (228:60). For personal use only. 153. for local knowledgeand politics informs and delimits technological incursions (156). Anthropol. and that the individual. Downloaded from arjournals. Like Rabinow. it is no longer clear whatis an artifact. 92. resist all pressures from the Other to producetidy answersand "Just So" stories. remain eclectic in our approach. Influenced by Darwiniantheory. as Rabinowemphasizes. alternatively. however. As the text about our most natural tool (albeit less natural than in Mauss’day). Strathern concerns herself with the newreproductive technologies.22:133-155. the centerpiece of the Euro-American nature/culture divide. I believe. 148 LOCK extended to populations emergent from computer sets of shared traits and other decontextualized information not applicable to our present understanding of a "subject. In the late twentieth century. 220). sometimes taking an advocacyrole (18.annualreviews. but also on the politics of the practice of anthropologyand its use beyond the confines of the discipline. Strathern insists that society and the bodyare equally collage. with profound implications for the anthropological construct of kinship (227). 62.Strathern speculates about whether culture and previously "secure" concepts such as society have a future. 96) and. particularly when the metaphorical status between body and machine is collapsed.

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