Beyond the Body Proper

Reading the Anthropology of Material Life

Beyond the Body Proper

Body, Commodity, Text

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Book Pages: 704 Illustrations: Published: April 2007

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Science and Technology Studies

Over the past several decades, scholars in both the social sciences and humanities have moved beyond the idea that there is a “body proper”: a singular, discrete biological organism with an individual psyche. They have begun to perceive embodiment as dynamic rather than static, as experiences that vary over time and across the world as they are shaped by discourses, institutions, practices, technologies, and ideologies. What has emerged is a multiplicity of bodies, inviting a great many disciplinary points of view and modes of interpretation. The forty-seven readings presented in this volume range from classic works of social theory, history, and ethnography to more recent investigations into historical and contemporary modes of embodiment.

Beyond the Body Proper includes nine sections conceptually organized around themes such as everyday life, sex and gender, and science. Each section is preceded by interpretive commentary by the volume’s editors. Within the collection are articles and book excerpts focused on bodies using tools and participating in rituals, on bodies walking and eating, and on the female circumcision controversy, as well as pieces on medical classifications, spirit possession, the commodification of body parts, in vitro fertilization, and an artist/anatomist’s “plastination” of cadavers for display. Materialist, phenomenological, and feminist perspectives on embodiment appear along with writings on interpretations of pain and the changing meanings of sexual intercourse. Essays on these topics and many others challenge Eurocentric assumptions about the body as they speak to each other and to the most influential contemporary trends in the human sciences.

With selections by: 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 K. 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


Beyond the Body Proper. . . is a wonderful collection of ethnographic, philosophical, and historical writings on the body. . . . Lock and Farquhar had an excellent hand in selecting these essays. Beyond the Body Proper makes an ideal companion for undergraduate courses, but it also contains surprises for those who know the field.” — Stefan Ecks, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

“[E]xpansive and provocative. . . . This volume offers an indispensable resource for scholars and an excellent reader for courses on medical anthropology, anthropology of the body, and social theory.” — Sarah Pinto, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“One of the most interesting aspects of the book is its discussion of ‘local biologies.’ The term, used by the editors in the introduction, is the unifying theme of the collection: It refers to how every culture has a different view of the body, a context that is internalized and feels ‘natural’ for the members of that culture. . . . Clinicians will be particularly interested in the last 2 sections.” — Isabelle Leblanc, Canadian Medical Association Journal

“This discerning collection offers a highly creative reading of the development of modern social thought about bodies as means of life in the world. Beyond the Body Proper will be an invaluable classroom companion across a wide range of disciplines in the human sciences.” — Jean Comaroff, Bernard E. and Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Margaret Lock is Professor of Anthropology and the Marjorie Bronfman Professor in Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University. Her many books include Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death and Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America.

Judith Farquhar is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Appetites: Food and Sex in Post-Socialist China, also published by Duke University Press, and Knowing Practice: The Clinical Encounter of Chinese Medicine.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Notes on the Format of the Book ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction / Judith Farquhar and Margaret Lock 1

I. An Emergent Canon, or Putting Bodies on the Scholarly Agenda

Introduction 19

On the Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man / Friedrich Engels 25

The Pre-eminence of the Right Hand: A Study in Religious Polarity / Robert Hertz 30

Right and Left in China / Marcel Granet 41

Techniques of the Body / Marcel Mauss 50

Symbols in Ndembu Ritual / Victor Turner 69

The Social Skin / Terence S. Turner 83

II. Philosophical Studies, or Learning How to Think Embodiment

Introduction 107

Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook / Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 113

On the Mimetic Faculty / Walter Benjamin 130

from The Phenomenology of Perception / Maurice Merleau-Ponty 133

Making Up People / Ian Hacking 150

from Bodies That Matter / Judith Butler 164

Do You Believe in Reality? / Bruno Latour 176

III. Fundamental Processes, or Denaturalizing the Given

Introduction 187

Time and Space / E. E. Evans-Pritchard 193

Women Mystics and Eucharistic Devotion in the Thirteenth Century / Caroline Walker Bynum 202

On Breath / Kristofer M. Schipper 213

Some Speculations on the History of “Sexual Intercourse” during the “Long Eighteenth Century” in England / Henry Abelove 217

Human Body Parts as Therapeutic Tools: Contradictory Discourses and Transformed Subjectivities / Margaret Lock 224

Meratus Embryology / Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing 232

IV. Everyday Life, or Exploring the Body’s Times and Spaces

Introduction 241

Walking in the City / Michel de Certeau 249

Tactility and Distraction / Michael Taussig 259

The City: The Sewer, the Gaze, and the Contaminating Touch / Peter Stallybrass and Allon White 266

Medicinal Meals / Judith Farquhar 286

Rereading as a Woman: The Body in Practice / Nancy K. Miller 297

V. Colonized Bodies, or Analyzing the Materiality of Domination

Introduction 307

Remembering Amal: On Birth and the British in Northern Sudan / Janice Boddy 315

National Bodies, Unspeakable Acts: The Sexual Politics of Colonial Policy Making / Susan Pedersen 330

The Zoot Suit and Style Warfare / Stuart Cosgrove 347

Cooptation and Control: The Reconstruction of Inuit Birth / Patricia Leyland Kaufert and John D. O’Neil 359

Dosic Bodies/Docile Bodies / Jean Langford 376

VI. Desires and Identities, or Negotiating Sex and Gender

Introduction 383

Men, Beasts, and “Nature” / John Boswell 389

Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse / Gregory M. Pflugfelder 400

The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles / Emily Martin 417

We Always Make Love with Worlds / Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari 428

VII. Bodies at the Margin, or Attending to Distress and Difference

Introduction 435

The Woman beneath the Skin: A Doctor’s Patients in Eighteenth-Century Germany / Barbara Duden 443

Memory within the Body: Women’s Narrative and Identity in a Southern Italian Village / Mariella Pandolfi 451

Nervoso / Nancy Scheper-Hughes 459

Somatization: The Interconnections in Chinese Society among Culture, Depressive Experiences, and the Meanings of Pain / Arthur Kleinman and Joan Kleinman 468

Jarring Bodies: Thoughts on the Display of Unusual Anatomies / Alice Domurat Dreger 475

VIII. Capitalist Production, or Accounting the Commodification of Bodily Life

Introduction 489

Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism / E. P. Thompson 495

The Production of Possession: Spirits and the Multinational Corporation in Malaysia / Aihwa Ong 512

Constructing a “Good Catch,” Picking a Winner: The Development of Technosemen and the Deconstruction of the Monolithic Male / Matthew Schmidt and Lisa Jean Moore 550

Alienation of Body Parts and the Biopolitics of Immortalized Cell Lines / Margaret Lock 567

IX. Knowing Systems, or Tracking the Bodies of the Biosciences

Introduction 587

Pulse Diagnosis in the Greek and Chinese Traditions / Shigehisa Kuriyama 595

Real-Time Fetus: The Role of the Sonogram in the Age of Monitored Reproduction / Rayna Rapp 608

Quit Sniveling, Cryo-Baby, We’ll Work Out Which One’s Your Mama! / Charis Thompson 623

Bodyworlds: The Art of Plastinated Cadavers / Jose van Dijck 640

Inventing the Heterozygote: Molecular Biology, Racial Identity, and the Narratives of Sickle-Cell Disease, Tay-Sachs, and Cystic Fibrosis / Keith Wailoo 658

Bibliography 673

Citations for Text Selections 679

Index 685
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2008 Most Notable Mention, Edited Collection, Council on Anthropology and Reproduction

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3845-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3830-7
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