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The Thin Red Line: Social Power & the Open Body
(Released March 2000)

  by Dan Edelman  


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  1. Women's Self-Starvation, Cosmetic Surgery and Transsexualism

    Lienert, Tania

    Feminism & Psychology, 1998, 8, 2, May, 245-250.

    Contends that feminists, who denounce the pressures put on women to diet excessively & undergo cosmetic surgery to enhance their beauty, should also condemn the pressures that lead transsexual males to "change sex." The connections between women's self-starvation/cosmetic surgery & male transsexual surgery are discussed, suggesting that both reinforce gender stereotypes by mutilating the body to conform to ideals of "femininity." The failure of feminists to criticize transsexual surgery is often based on the notion that to do so oppresses transsexuals themselves. This assumption ignores the reality that pressures on transsexuals to achieve perfect bodies are the same as those applied to women. It is argued that feminists must reject all bodily alterations as violent & unethical, & focus instead on striving to change stereotypical media images of feminine women & masculine men, coupled with education & counseling to help persons accept themselves as they are. Limiting criticism of bodily alteration to women exhibits a double standard. 16 References. J. Lindroth.

  2. Conformity Pressures and Gender Resistance among Transgendered Individuals

    Gagne, Patricia; Tewksbury, Richard

    Social Problems, 1998, 45, 1, Feb, 81-101.

    The power of gender as a social institution was examined through in-depth semistructured interviews with 65 masculine-to-feminine transgendered individuals. Analysis reveals that transgendered individual's sense of self was constrained by the dominant discourse of binary gender identity. The pervasiveness of that discourse resulted in gender conformity & resistance manifested, on the one hand, in social pressures to be like acceptable others & desires for relationship maintenance & self-preservation, &, on the other, in the need to actualize an identity more in line with the alternatively gendered authentic self. Initially, the femininity of transgendered individuals was enacted only in secrecy. Enactment of femininity over ever-widening social spaces fostered the emergence of an alternative sense of gender identity. Transgenderism is discussed as a discursive act that both challenges & reifies the binary gender system. 24 References. Adapted from the source document.

  3. Transgendered Bisexuals: An Identity Quadri-Lemma

    Rust, Paula C

    Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), 1998

    An international survey of the development of bisexual identities, communities, & politics asked 900 bisexual respondents about their current sexual identities, their history of sexual self-identification, & the meanings of their identities. Explored is the extent to which bisexual & transgendered individuals develop identities that challenge rather than reinforce traditional gender. Focus is on the problems of language & self-identification among 19 bisexual & transgendered individuals.

  4. The Gender of Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes

    Kulick, Don

    American Anthropologist, 1997, 99, 3, Sept, 574-585.

    An analysis of the gendered practices of transgendered prostitutes in Brazil, based on interview excerpts, demonstrates how gender in Latin America is interconnected with sexuality. Rather than a static characteristic, gender is seen as a social & symbolic arena of contestation over identity, behaviors, rights & obligations, & sexualities. It is suggested that the particular configurations of sex, gender, & sexuality in Brazil & other Latin American societies differ from the dominant configurations in northern Europe & North America & generate different arrangements of gender, consisting not of men & women, but of men & "not-men." In this system, gender is influenced by sexual behaviors more than by biological sex, & not-men specifies a gender including both biological women & men who receive anal penetration. Implications of this conceptual system are presented. 43 References. Adapted from the source document.

  5. Coming Out and Crossing Over: Identity Formation and Proclamation in a Transgender Community

    Gagne, Patricia; Tewksbury, Richard; McGaughey, Deanna

    Gender & Society, 1997, 11, 4, Aug, 478-508.

    Drawing on interview data from 65 masculine-to-feminine transgenderists, obtained 1994/95 from volunteers throughout the US, the coming-out experiences of transgendered individuals are examined. The literature shows gender to be an inherent component of the social infrastructure that, at an individual level, is accomplished in interaction with others, but interactional challenges to gender are insufficient to challenge the system of gender. Whereas many transgenderists believe that their actions & identities are radical challenges to the binary system of gender, in fact, the majority of such individuals reinforce & reify the system they hope to change. 62 References. Adapted from the source document.

  6. Transgender Politics, Medicine and Representation: Off Our Backs, Off Our Bodies

    Hooley, Jillian

    Social Alternatives, 1997, 16, 1, Jan, 31-34.

    Prior published & unpublished research is reviewed to explore portrayals of gender & alternative gendered identities among transgender activists in Sydney, Australia. It is argued that the formation of a counterdiscourse in response to the dominant medical representation of gender is empowering in that it provides an alternative to medical procedures (specifically, genital realignment surgery) as the only means of crossing gender boundaries. The history of transsexual medicine is briefly described, & the social movements & processes that led to the creation of a new gender discourse among Sydney transgender activists are examined. This discourse rejects use of the terms transsexual & transvestite as connoting abnormality & defines identity as an ongoing process of self-constitution, rather than as a fixed characteristic amenable to a final (ie, medical) resolution. Recent policy concerning transgendered individuals is discussed. 1 Illustration, 12 References. J. Ferrari.

  7. Sluts and Superwomen: The Politics of Gender Liminality in Urban Tonga

    Besnier, Niko

    Ethnos, 1997, 62, 1-2, 5-31.

    The ethnographic diversity of transgendered men (leiti) in urban Tonga is explored, drawing on data collected during fieldwork in 1977-1979 & 1994/95. The complex interweaving of symbolic & material forces in determining their identities & the power of stereotyping in their lives are discussed. Two case studies delineate two extremes of transgendered men: one emerges as a "superwoman," performing work stereotypically associated with women, & one emerges as a "slut," engaging in sexual activity with multiple male partners. Judith Butler's critique (eg, 1993) of feminist views of gender identity is considered, focusing on its potential contribution to anthropology. 90 References. Adapted from the source document.


    Ekins, Richard [Ed]; King, Dave [Ed]

    xix+257pp, London: Routledge, 1996

    An edited Vol investigates aspects of gender blending or transgenderism, a set of practices that include transvestism, transsexualism, drag queens, & cross-dressers. Experiences of those who participate in these practices are presented to ascertain how they situate themselves socially in both insider & mainstream communities. Focus is on the dominant medical theoretical framework employed to organize knowledge in this field & how the media have historically represented transgenderism. Debates over the political potential of transgenderism ignited by Janice Raymond's The Transsexual Empire: The Making of a She-Male (1980) are also discussed. While some contributors defend transgenderism as an important contribution to contemporary cultural & queer theory, others suggest that it represents little more than an appeal to androgynous humanism rather than a coherent political practice. The Vol contains a Foreword by Ken Plummer, an Introduction, & 15 Chpts (14 of which are abstracted) with notes in V PARTS. 11 Plates, 2 Appendixes. D. M. Smith.

  9. Female Genital Mutilation and Cosmetic Surgery: Regulating Non-Therapeutic Body Modification

    Sheldon, Sally; Wilkinson, Stephen

    Bioethics, 1998, 12, 4, Oct, 263-285.

    Examines arguments in support of a UK ban on female genital mutilation & assesses whether they are sufficient to justify banning female genital mutilation for competent, consenting women. Female genital mutilation is compared to cosmetic surgery, exploring (1) whether the argument succeeds in justifying the ban on the former &, if so, (2) whether a parallel argument would not also support a ban on the latter. It is argued that female genital mutilation should be unlawful because (A) no women could validly consent to it, (B) it is an oppressive & sexist practice, (C) it involves the intentional infliction of injury, & (D) it causes offense. Arguments (C) & (D) are deemed unsound, &, although arguments (A) & (B) may be sound, they support not only a ban on female genital mutilation, but also one on (some types of) cosmetic surgery. Legally, either the ban on female genital mutilation is unjustified because arguments (A) & (B) are not in fact successful, or the law's permissive attitude toward cosmetic surgery is unjustified because arguments (A) & (B) are in fact successful & apply equally to both forms of body modification. Adapted from the source document.

  10. The Female Body, Transforming Technology, and the Consumption Culture

    Sassatelli, Roberta

    Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, 1998, 39, 3, Sept, 413-425.

    This review of the 1997 Italian translation of a book by Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body (1993) considers her fused-critical-constructivist conciliation of traditional foci of feminist thought with issues from poststructuralism. The influence of the consumerist culture & the technological transformation emerging in controlling the female body are examined in depth. The mind/body dualism in contemporary society is seen not only as a philosophical question, but a pervasive & practical metaphysical challenge to medicine, jurisprudence, psychology, popular culture, & advertising. Among phenomena analyzed are eating disorders, exercise, & cosmetic surgery. 52 References. J. Sadler.

  11. Aesthetics and Formation. The Sociological View of the Body

    Hahn, Kornelia

    Soziologische Revue, 1998, 21, 1, Jan, 72-80.

    A review essay on seven German books discussing the human body & its significance from a sociological perspective. Several interpret efforts to alter or beautify the body (eg, through tattooing, plastic surgery, or fashion), while others concentrate on the possibility of liberation from the borders & materiality of the body offered by cyberspace or interpret physical attractiveness as a form of social power. Most of the texts see the body as a location or means of self-production or a site of sociostructural (eg, gender, economic) inequality. Collectively, they view the body as both banal & aesthetic. E. Blackwell.

  12. Metaphors of Inscription: Discipline, Plasticity and the Rhetoric of Choice

    Brush, Pippa

    Feminist Review, 1998, 58, spring, 22-43.

    The metaphor of inscription on the body & the constitution of the body through those inscriptions have been widely used in recent attempts to theorize the body. Michel Foucault (1984) calls the body the "inscribed surface of events," while Elizabeth Grosz (1987) argues that the body, either female or male, can no longer be regarded as a fixed, concrete substance, a precultural given, but has a determinate form only through being socially inscribed. Hence, the body becomes plastic, inscribed with gender & cultural standards. While Foucault assumes the existence of a preinscriptive body, many theorists reject that idea & argue (eg, Butler, Judith, 1990) that there is no recourse to a body that has not always already been interpreted by cultural meanings. The constitution of the body rests in its inscription; the body becomes the text written on it & from which it is indistinguishable. Discussed here is the metaphor of inscription, using cosmetic surgery as a literal example. While some theorists reject the preinscriptive body, popular discourses advocating changing one's body assume unproblematically the existence of a body prior to these "elective" procedures & reinforce the theoretically beseiged mind/body dualism. Described is how popular discourses of body modification enforce a disciplinary regime (in Foucault's sense) & impose degrees of both literal & figurative inscription. Juxtaposing these two perspectives, explored is how both discourses efface the materiality of the body & the social contexts in which bodies are experienced & constructed. While the rhetoric surrounding cosmetic surgery denies the physical process & the economic constraints, so too do theories of the body that stress its plasticity deny the materiality of that process & the cultural & social contexts in which the body is placed. 21 References. Adapted from the source document.

  13. Making Up Cher-A Media Analysis of the Politics of the Female Body

    Franckenstein, Frauke

    European Journal of Women's Studies, 1997, 4, 1, Feb, 7-22.

    Examines the media representation of pop singer Cher, a woman who underwent many cosmetic surgeries, drawing on a content analysis of 1987-1995 German-language newspaper & magazine articles, interviews with women & cosmetic surgeons (N unspecified), & observations of cosmetic surgery consultations. Theoretical ramifications of the politics of the body are briefly explored, as is the stigma surrounding cosmetic surgery in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is argued that the case of Cher illustrates how cosmetic surgery & its stigma objectify women & credits male surgeons as the creators of female bodies & beauty. Further, this case shows how cosmetic surgery allows women entry into the public sphere so long as men define, create, & control their bodies. 9 References. Adapted from the source document.

  14. 'My Body Is My Art': Cosmetic Surgery as Feminist Utopia?

    Davis, Kathy

    European Journal of Women's Studies, 1997, 4, 1, Feb, 23-37.

    Examines the French performance artist Orlan's challenge to prevailing concepts of beauty & femininity via cosmetic surgery to make her body into a work of art & a political statement. In-depth interviews (N unspecified) were conducted with women in the Netherlands who had had or were planning to have cosmetic surgery, & their experiences were compared with Orlan's utopian artistic statements. Orlan's art is rejected as a feminist critique in that it discounts the suffering, power dynamics, & risks of cosmetic surgery, & women's feelings of inadequacy about their appearance. 16 References. Adapted from the source document.

  15. Working within Contradiction: The Possibility of Feminist Cosmetic Surgery

    Kirkland, Anna; Tong, Rosemarie

    The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 1996, 7, 2, summer, 151-159.

    The distinction between feminist & nonfeminist perspectives of cosmetic surgery is discussed in reference to the proper conduct & behavior of a feminist plastic surgeon. After a brief review of the rapidly increasing demand for & practice of plastic surgery for nontherapeutic reasons, it is argued that feminists generally condemn such surgery on the grounds that it proliferates patriarchal demands on women. Feminists claim that plastic surgery symbolizes another means by which men assert control over women, & reinforces the idea that women must beautify themselves to succeed. Although the reality of socially constructed demands on female beauty does exist, it is argued that women may seek nonessential plastic surgery for personal & legitimate reasons that are not necessarily damaging to feminism. Under these circumstances, a deliberative model of plastic surgery counseling is proposed whereby patients & doctors enter into a constructive dialogue concerning the true reasons underlying the desire for plastic surgery, including social pressure & socially constructed demands. T. Sevier.

  16. Forms of Technological Embodiment: Reading the Body in Contemporary Culture

    Balsamo, Anne

    Chpt in CYBERSPACE, CYBERBODIES, CYBERPUNK: CULTURES OF TECHNOLOGICAL EMBODIMENT, Featherstone, Mike, & Burrows, Roger [Eds], London, England: Sage Publications Ltd, 1995, pp 215-237

    Discusses modern technology-oriented depictions of the human body, & examines the impact of gender on these images of embodiment. It is argued that the boundaries between body & machine have been blurred as the result of certain developments, eg, the performance of organic functions by mechanical instruments & the material reconstruction of the physical body through the use of new technologies. Under these circumstances, the distinctions between organic & mechanical, & natural & cultural, are increasingly vague. However, gender boundaries have remained surprisingly fixed during this era of redefinition as a result of several social, cultural, & historical forces. Four forms of postmodern technological embodiment are cited: laboring bodies (mothers as wombs & workers as microelectronic entities); disappearing bodies (bioengineering & database conceptions of embodiment); repressed bodies (physical bodies losing significance to virtual reality & computer communications); & marked bodies (altered by cosmetic surgery & technological infringement). In terms of gender, the female body is predominantly portrayed as a material entity with the function of reproduction, while technobodies are frequently associated with maleness. 2 Figures, 30 References. T. Sevier.

  17. Television Situation Comedies: Female Body Images and Verbal Reinforcements

    Fouts, Gregory; Burggraf, Kimberley

    Sex Roles, 1999, 40, 5-6, Mar, 473-481.

    A content analysis of 28 different prime-time TV situation comedies, aired in Calgary, Alberta, in Oct 1996, examined the body weights of 52 central female characters; the verbal comments they received from other characters as a function of body weight, & their self-comments with respect to their own body weight, shape, & dieting behaviors. Compared with the general population, below-average-weight central female characters were overrepresented. These characters received significantly more positive verbal comments from male characters with regard to body weight & shape than their heavier counterparts. Dieting female characters gave themselves significantly more verbal punishment for their body weight & shape than those less involved in dieting. This combination of modeling the thin ideal & the verbal reinforcement associated with this modeling likely contributes to the internalization of the thin ideal & may put some young female viewers at risk for developing eating disorders. 32 References. Adapted from the source document.

  18. Body Dissatisfaction, Need for Social Approval, and Eating Disturbances among Japanese and American College Women

    Mukai, Takayo; Kambara, Akiko; Sasaki, Yuji

    Sex Roles, 1998, 39, 9-10, Nov, 751-763.

    Analyzes questionnaire data obtained from 171 Japanese & 144 US college women (90% European American, 4% African American, 4% Asian or Asian American, & 2% other), who completed the Eating Attitudes Test-26, the Body Dissatisfaction Subscale of the Eating Disorder Inventory, & the Revised Martin-Larsen Approval Motivation Scale. Japanese women expressed the greater dissatisfaction with their body but no more eating disturbances than US women. The need for social approval predicted the Japanese women's eating disturbances after controlling for the effects of body fatness (Body Mass Index [BMI]) & body dissatisfaction. BMI was a significant predictor of eating disturbances for US women but not for Japanese women. The results were discussed in terms of their implications for cross-cultural similarities & differences in correlates of disordered eating. 3 Tables, 1 Figure, 38 References. Adapted from the source document.

  19. Body Image Perception among Women of African Descent: A Normative Context?

    Ofosu, Helen B; Lafreniere, Kathryn D; Senn, Charlene Y

    Feminism & Psychology, 1998, 8, 3, Aug, 303-323.

    Integrates research from across the social sciences to understand black women's body image perceptions, examining the effects of race, ethnicity, class, & culture. Cultural differences between African Canadians/Americans & blacks living in Africa & the Caribbean are outlined, & their effects on black women's experiences of weight & eating discussed. Some of the historical underpinnings & aspects of the current social context in which black women live are explored in to explain body image perceptions. 62 References. Adapted from the source document.

  20. A Closer Look at the Role of Social Influence in the Development of Attitudes to Eating

    Balaam, Belinda J; Haslam, S Alexander

    Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 1998, 8, 3, May-June, 195-212.

    The relationship between social influence & the development of attitudes toward eating was explored in an experiment in which 59 Australian female secondary students listened to an interviewee (identified as a radical feminist, a sportswoman, or a women's magazine journalist) give either a pro- or an antidiet message. Subjects (Ss) then completed a questionnaire examining their attitudes toward eating & their judgments of the interviewee. Results supported predictions that influence would vary as an interactive function of the message & the normative ingroup vs outgroup status of the message source. However, different patterns of influence were observed on two factors that emerged from analysis of the eating disorder items, suggesting that there were important differences in the shaping of Ss' beliefs about appropriate eating behavior for (1) themselves personally & (2) the community in general. Thus, social influence has a significant but complex impact on the development of potentially harmful attitudes toward eating. Also, certain antidiet messages may actually be a counterproductive means to improve female body satisfaction. 3 Tables, 3 Figures, 41 References. Adapted from the source document.

  21. Media and Disturbed Eating: An Analysis of Media Influence and Implications for Prevention

    Berel, Susan; Irving, Lori M

    The Journal of Primary Prevention, 1998, 18, 4, summer, 415-430.

    Research has linked the thinning standard of beauty portrayed in the media to increased rates of weight preoccupation & eating disturbance in women. Here, evaluated is how media influence has been defined & measured in psychological research on women's patterns of viewing & ways of responding to media. Also discussed are the implications of this research for programs to prevent the development of eating problems by teaching girls & women to evaluate media more critically. The potential contributions of communications research & feminist therapy perspectives to the design of effective preventions are considered. 47 References. Adapted from the source document.

  22. Food in Postmodernism: From Gastronomy and Convivialism to Gastro-Anomy and Fast Food

    Liuccio, Michaela

    Sociologia, 1998, 32, 2-3, 265-271.

    Alimentary anomalies in contemporary society are addressed in a discussion of conditions of social & individual life in the postmodern era responsible for the breakdown in the traditional norms & customs of eating. Playing on the Greek etymology of gastronomy, the manifestation of "gastro-anomy" in such physiological disorders as obesity, anorexia/bulimia & social distortions of body image (the slimness model), absence of family-shared meals, & popularity of fast food restaurants is examined. It is noted that obesity & anorexia are signs of rejecting social norms & goals, whereas bulimia is a form of social adaptation. The first two manifest resistance to cultural norms while the latter is an attempt to conform to social standards & norms of attractiveness & desire management. Z. Dubiel.

  23. Body Image and Body Shape Ideals in Magazines: Exposure, Awareness, and Internalization

    Cusumano, Dale L; Thompson, J Kevin

    Sex Roles, 1997, 37, 9-10, Nov, 701-721.

    Examines the role of three aspects of sociocultural influence - media exposure, awareness of societal ideals, & internalization of sociocultural messages - in the prediction of body dissatisfaction, eating dysfunction, & self-esteem. Research into the media's influence on body image & eating disturbances is summarized, & results are presented of a study of 175 female college students, ages 18-49, in southern FL regarding the type of & amount of time spent reading magazines. Overall body shapes & breast sizes promoted in these magazines were identified. Correlational & regression of analyses of questionnaire & scale data showed that, while exposure did not relate to indices of body image, eating dysfunction, & self-esteem, awareness is a significant correlate of disturbance, with internalization of social norms accounting for significant & substantial variance, even after controlling for awareness. It is concluded that cognitive-behavioral & psychoeducational interventions for body image disturbance should be included in programs designed to modify eating & shape-related disorders. 8 Tables, 1 Appendix, 30 References. Adapted from the source document.

  24. Eating Disorders and the Cultural Forces behind the Drive for Thinness: Are African American Women Really Protected?

    Williamson, Lisa

    Social Work in Health Care, 1998, 28, 1, 61-73.

    It has generally been construed in the literature that African American women are not afflicted by eating disorders because of the greater acceptance in their culture of fuller female figures. However, as Western culture & mainstream US society continue to judge women's worth by their approximation to the supermodel figure, black women & girls may also be subject to this judgment & its consequent effects on self-esteem in the form of "internalized racism." Here, previous research on the roles of class, upward mobility, assimilation, & poverty on eating disorders among African American women is explored, & practice implications are discussed. 23 References. Adapted from the source document.

  25. The Politicization of the Ban on Female Circumcision and the Rise of the Independent School Movement in Kenya: The KCA, the Missions and Government, 1929-1932

    Natsoulas, Theodore

    Journal of Asian and African Studies, 1998, 33, 2, May, 137-158.

    Contends that the ban on female circumcision & the rise of the Kikuyu independent schools in Kenya, 1929-1932, were interrelated & politicized. In their desire to eliminate female circumcision, several Protestant mission societies not only forbade their followers from its practice, but also forbade their membership in the Kikuyu Central Assoc (KCA), the major African political organization. This coupling & the subsequent rise of independent schools gave the KCA the opportunity to rally the Kikuyu to its support & gained unprecedented popularity. The KCA became the champion of cultural Kikuyu heritage. Colonial authorities were brought into the controversy by both the missions & the KCA; although they tried to take a moderate approach, their vacillation failed to depoliticize the situation Adapted from the source document.

  26. Unmasking Tradition

    Abusharaf, Rogaia Mustafa

    The Sciences, 1998, 38, 2, Mar-Apr, 22-27.

    Examines the nature of & problems associated with female genital mutilation in Africa, in particular in Islamic societies. Types of practices, their harmful health effects, & the social implications of banning them are discussed. It is shown how these practices are embedded in customs & cultural identity & often treated as a festive occasion, with severe social consequences for those that refuse the ritual. International efforts to end these practices are assessed, & the negative impact of Western ignorance on immigrants is described. It is concluded that female genital mutilation will only end when African women have achieved social equality, political power, economic opportunities, & access to education & health care. T. Arnold.

  27. Psychoanalytic Influences of the Construction of the Concept of Female Sexual Response

    Levine, Alissa H

    International Sociological Association (ISA), 1998

    Early psychoanalytic theory has persisted in influencing contemporary perceptions & constructions of female sexual response. Confusion over the mechanics of sexual response is thus, in part, the legacy of foundational psychoanalytic theory, although many other societies untouched by Freudianism appear to maintain similar beliefs. Here, the most striking instance of community-wide gender construction, that of male, but especially female, circumcision, is explored. These ritual practices suggest that sexual identity is problematic, & some non-Western societies also believe that the mature female has no need for a clitoris. It is postulated that contemporary Western constructions of female sexuality are predicted on Freudian psychoanalytic theory, which explains the lack of awareness in much of the scientific & general populations regarding William H. Masters & Virginia E. Johnson's (1966) findings on female sexual response. The persistence among many individuals of a belief in a sexual response independent of the clitoris implies that the social construction of female sexuality is so powerful as to deny a basic physiological reality.

  28. Deconstructing the Phallocracy: Rethinking Circumcision and Gender in the United States

    Harrison, Daniel M

    American Sociological Association (ASA), 1998

    Explores the relationship between circumcision & gender in the US & considers whether routinized male circumcision may be considered a moment in the production of masculinities. The preponderance of circumcision in the US is explicated & the medical evidence assessed. A critical review of existing gender theory on the topic is presented. It is hypothesized that circumcision contributes to inegalitarian gender relations & may also problematically "sex" the body. "Aesthetics" & the prepuce are briefly discussed. Briefly addressed in conclusion is the dilemma surrounding circumcision & it is suggested that the decision should be left up to the subject of the operation.

  29. The Politics of Female Circumcision in the Central Province of Colonial Kenya, 1920-30

    Hetherington, Penelope

    The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 1998, 26, 1, Jan, 93-126.

    Historical documents pertaining to the 1929/30 political crisis over the regulation of female circumcision in Kenya reveal the role played by state- & district-level commissioners & suggest that underlying the crisis was a struggle between local & colonial elite men over the control of female sexuality & Kikuyu culture itself. Phases of administrative intervention, including the major individuals & policy statements involved in each, are described. Most efforts to regulate circumcision rituals (for both males & females) were made out of labor-related concerns & sought only to prevent circumcision practices from troubling colonial employers. From 1925 to 1929, interventions targeting female circumcision - measures that most commissioners opposed as disruptive - represented the colonial governor's policy of confronting & undermining Kikuyu cultural authority. Women, who controlled female circumcision, were consulted by neither British nor Kikuyu men, & the practice remained basically unchanged despite the proposal of severe punishments for women practitioners of circumcision. E. Blackwell.


    Heald, Suzette

    xiv+296pp, Oxford, England: James Currey, 1998

    Examines the sources, nature, & impact of violence among the Gisu men of southeastern Uganda, highlighting local effects of the collapse of state authority & the interplay of aggressive individualism with the limitations of social living. Historical origins of the Gisu's reputation for violence include land shortage, marginalization of the Gisu under British rule, & their construction of male gender identity. Drawing on 1960s statistics, patterns of violence are detailed, & the importance of a concept of order & aggressive individualism based on each man's control & defense of his household & land is discussed. Violence is endemic in Gisu life, expressed in central activities such as young adult male circumcision & the beer party. Specific murders, kinship & ancestral bonds, & 1960s court system changes affecting the settling of rural land disputes are analyzed. Efforts to reestablish order through violence, as in the Gisu vigilante movement, are compared to other nongovernmental structures such as the Sicilian Mafia. It is concluded that violence is one way that Gisu men are trying to preserve a cherished ideal of manhood in the face of increasing economic constraints. The text contains an Introduction, 11 Chpts in IV PARTS, & Notes. 23 Tables, 10 Figures. T. Arnold.

  31. Why Aren't Jewish Women Circumcised?

    Cohen, Shaye J D

    Gender & History, 1997, 9, 3, Nov, 560-578.

    Explores how ancient Jews explained the noncircumcision of women, drawing on early documentation of female & male genital alteration. According to some sources (eg, Strabo), Jews did, at one time, alter female genitals; however, Philo raises & answers the question of why females are not altered, contrasting them with Egypt's circumcised women & implying that it was never done. Arguing against the practice, early Christians (eg, Paul) reasoned that it was wrong to circumcise any human being since Christ admits of no distinctions between Jew & Greek; but not until Justin's era was the argument used that, if women need not be circumcised to be righteous, then neither do men. These questions became hotly debated by the rabbis of the Talmud; conflicting views are quoted & interpreted. It is speculated in conclusion that the prevalent view was that women were inferior Others &, so, their Jewishness was inferior. Adapted from the source document.

  32. Female Circumcision: Rite of Passage or Violation of Rights?

    Althaus, Frances A

    International Family Planning Perspectives, 1997, 23, 3, Sept, 130-133.

    The practice of female circumcision in African countries is examined, placing it in a sociohistorical context & outlining efforts at its elimination. Although seen as an integral rite of passage for young girls in African societies, it is argued that female circumcision is a human rights violation. It is often performed without anesthesia by lay practitioners with no medical training & can cause permanent health problems or death. Efforts to end this practice have met with little success, & it is concluded that change is likely to occur only with improvements in the status of women in society. 27 References. L. Kunard.

  33. Justifying the Unjustifiable: Rite v. Wrong

    Chessler, Abbie J

    Buffalo Law Review, 1997, 45, 2, spring-summer, 555-613.

    Compares female & male circumcision, drawing on a review of the history of these procedures & various cultural & religious justifications for the acts; legal remedies to eradicate female circumcision, are considered & these arguments are applied to the male case. Although female circumcision is roundly denounced in Western cultures, male circumcision is accepted as a routine practice. Explanations for this acceptance are found to range from tribal symbolism to matters of hygiene, just as in the female case. It is suggested that the best legal remedy for male circumcision may be a combined application of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, customary international law, & existing domestic law. D. M. Smith.

  34. Female Genital Mutilation-About the Difficulty of Changing Traditions

    Schneider, Friederike

    curare, 1997, 11, special, 355-365.

    Examines justifications & motivations of advocates of female genital mutilation in the context of the importance of traditions for cultural identity & the perpetuation of power structures. An overview of various forms of mutilation & their connection to the tradition of body alteration is given. Economic, social, cultural, & religious traditions underlying these practices are analyzed, highlighting gender roles & power relations. The reaction of the Western world to such mutilation, especially as portrayed by the mass media, is discussed. Efforts against genital mutilation in various countries, particularly among middle-class, educated citizens, are assessed. It is concluded that effective strategies for societal change must be pursued at the national & international levels, with the financial, administrative, & moral support of the industrialized nations. 26 References. Adapted from the source document.

  35. A Biocultural Analysis of Circumcision

    Immerman, Ronald S; Mackey, Wade C

    Social Biology, 1997, 44, 3-4, fall-winter, 265-275.

    Draws on neurological, anatomical, & other empirical data related to the circumcision of boys to argue that the practice serves practical social as well as religious/symbolic functions. It is asserted that circumcised adolescents may experience lower sexual arousal, be less distractible, be more group goal oriented, & be more submissive to authority due to circumcision-related brain atrophy/reorganization & reduced penile sensitivity. Also, circumcision reduces smegma, which may function as a female-attracting & competition-inducing pheromone, thereby further contributing to smooth community functioning. It is concluded that the symbolic, folkloric justification of circumcision in certain cultures is probably a rationale for the social purpose behind the intervention. 70 References. E. Blackwell.

  36. Ending Footbinding and Infibulation: A Convention Account

    Mackie, Gerry

    American Sociological Review, 1996, 61, 6, Dec, 999-1017.

    The social processes that create, sustain, & potentially end practices such as female footbinding in China & female genital mutilation (FGM) in Africa are examined, with particular focus on the self-enforcing convention theory developed by Thomas Schelling (1960). Under conditions of extreme resource inequality, polygny emerges as females can successfully raise children as the second wife of a successful man more easily than as the first wife of a low-ranking man. However, high-ranking men have the power to enforce extreme measures of fidelity control, eg, footbinding or FGM, which are mimicked by lower-ranking individuals in successive generations. Under these circumstances, eventually all women must submit to fidelity control practices in order to achieve marriage. However, these self-enforcing conventions cited by Schelling can be transformed. The convention hypothesis predicts that FGM can be terminated through mechanisms similar to those used to end footbinding: explanation of the physiological dangers of the practice, international condemnation of the practice, & (most importantly) associations of parents who refuse to subject their daughters to the practice or marry their sons to victims of the practice. 2 Figures, 64 References. Adapted from the source document.

  37. Creating 'The Pefect Body': A Variable Project

    Monaghan, Lee

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 267-290.

    Draws on 1994-1996 semistructured interviews & participant observation to explore bodybuilding from a sociological perspective, arguing that theories ascribing bodybuilding to antecedent predispositions are not sufficient when accounting for the ongoing variable project of creating "the perfect body." It is asserted that late-1990s physique bodybuilding (vs weight training) could be independent of the masculinist imagery of the muscular body alongside feelings of gender & personal insecurity, but is increasingly dependent on an acquired "ethnophysiological" appreciation of "excessive" muscularity. This phenomenological argument, which asserts the agency of bodies in social processes, focuses on male participants' spatially & temporally contingent heterogeneous body projects. 1 Table, 80 References. Adapted from the source document.

  38. Interaction Order and Beyond: A Field Analysis of Body Culture within Fitness Gyms

    Sassatelli, Roberta

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 227-248.

    Addresses keep-fit culture not as a collection of commercial images or as the product of broader cultural values, but as a set of situated body practices, ie, practices taking place in specific institutions where these images & values are reinterpreted in locally prescribed ways &, to some extent, filtered. Relying on 1994/95 participant observation & client & staff interviews at two gyms in Florence, Italy, & related periodicals & manuals, fitness gyms are revealed to be experienced as places with their own rules, pleasures, & identity games. The ideal of the fit body is shown to be filtered from its wider, typically gender- & class-specific charges, transformed into a pure instrument of training, a machine that does not bear resemblance to the organic body of the changing rooms, an objectified utility beyond any social role specification. Social roles & their body requirements are both important for individual clients' structural chances to join the gym & locally neutralized or reduced to tension-release mechanisms. Similarly, the cultural ideals of a fit & toned body contribute to the legitimation of the gym; yet the actual capacity to train is less the result of the direct grip of culture, than the outcome of clients' adjustment to playing a particular game of involvement with & detachment from the mechanistic & abstract exercise body. Body definitions are not simply imposed on clients, but continuously negotiated & transformed. 66 References. Adapted from the source document.

  39. Built Bodies, Natural Bodies: The Social and Physical Construction of Gender

    Wesely, Jennifer Kara

    American Sociological Association (ASA), 1999

    The built body is perceived as "natural" or "unnatural" in relation to its conformity to social constructions of gender identity. As a body technology, bodybuilding is the act of creating a body always part artificial. Even so, it is used to naturalize & legitimize patriarchal male power through associations of muscles & masculinity. Female bodybuilding is seen as unnatural in that it threatens gendered power relations coded through the body. The social determination of the "natural" body can maintain the oppression of women; the female built body has the potential to destabilize, resist, or even transgress gender norms & corresponding contructions of power.

  40. The Discourse of Empowerment: Foucault, Marcuse, and Women's Fitness Texts

    Eskes, Tina B; Duncan, Margaret Carlisle; Miller, Eleanor M

    Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 1998, 22, 3, Aug, 317-344.

    Through the methodology of textual analysis, how women's fitness magazine texts equate physical health with beauty is discussed. Michel Foucault's (1979) ideas on power & discipline & Herbert Marcuse's ideas on co-optation are employed to inform the research. How these texts use empowerment or feminist ideology to convey to readers that exercise & fitness pursuits, when used to achieve physical change that improve a reader's physical attractiveness, are ways to empower themselves in all aspects of life. By co-opting feminist ideals, fitness texts encourage readers to concentrate on their physical selves, specifically physical beauty, not health, at the expense of achieving true physical health & gains in the social arena. 35 References. Adapted from the source document.

  41. Tales of Lies. The Bodybuilder's Body Image between Fantasy and Reality

    Koert, Willem

    Amsterdams Sociologisch Tijdschrift, 1998, 25, 2, July, 276-294.

    The relationships between the body image idealized in the world of bodybuilding & the use of doping (primarily anabolic steroids) are examined. It is argued that the almost mythical status of a small group of bodybuilders (eg, Arnold Schwarzenegger) & the success of a few cult figures in the entertainment industry (eg, Conan the Barbarian) not only encourage, but actually mandate, use of doping among average bodybuilders, whose muscle mass fails to measure up to these standards in spite of rigorous training. Since traditional training programs consist primarily of appeals to train incessantly, & since most bodybuilders reach a physical threshold long before their ideal of perfection is reached, many see no other option than using chemical enhancements to counteract the muscle damage that results from their training schedules. It is proposed that bodybuilders be extensively informed about alternative, less strenuous but possibly equally successful training programs based on alternate action & rest periods, such as those promoted by Mike Mentzer in the US & Hans Kroon in the Netherlands. 14 References. Adapted from the source document.

  42. "No-Body's Perfect": Women, Aerobics, and the Body Beautiful

    Maguire, Joseph; Mansfield, Louise

    Sociology of Sport Journal, 1998, 15, 2, June, 109-137.

    Examines the behavioral & emotional rituals of women at an aerobics class in the English East Midlands, drawing on participant observation of 35-40 women & 16 interviews, mapped out & located in the "exercise-body beautiful complex" - a gendered network of discipline & power. How social constraints & individual self-control interweave in the rationalized management of women's bodies is explored. The embodied experiences of these women are intertwined with long-term enabling & constraining features. Covertly disempowering, the exercise-body beautiful complex reinforces established standards of femininity. The realignment of dominant images of femininity is advocated to extend the liberating features of the figuration in question. 1 Figure, 52 References. Adapted from the source document.


    Lowe, Maria R

    x+206pp, New York: New York U Press, 1998

    Investigates the culture of women's bodybuilding, drawing on participant observation & 37 interviews with bodybuilders, female & male judges, & officials & journalists, conducted 1991-1993. Organized women's bodybuilding competitions began in the 1970s, & today are controlled by two primary organizations, the International Federation of Bodybuilding & the National Physique Committee. These organizations, along with sponsors who abide by their judgments, exercise a tremendous power in enforcing standards for female bodybuilders. These standards are oriented around issues of femininity, muscularity, & steroid use. The fact that no consensus exists as to the proper relationship between these elements indicates the fundamental ideological conflict about gender norms that lies at the heart of female bodybuilding. Judges & bodybuilders hold contradictory views on the role of muscularity & femininity in the ideal female body shape. The necessity of displaying feminine attributes is reinforced by sponsors, who refuse to offer contracts to overly muscular bodybuilders. It is concluded that, although female bodybuilders have enormous control over their bodies, they lack institutional or political control over the sport. Thus, it is likely that feminine norms will continue to conflict with the imperative of muscularity. An Introduction accompanies 6 Chpts with Notes. 19 Photographs, 4 Appendixes, 111 References. D. M. Smith.


    Heywood, Leslie

    viii+225pp, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers U Press, 1998

    Explores the world of female bodybuilding as a metaphor for the place of women in the current political & cultural climate. Drawing on a variety of sources, including popular media & personal involvement with the female bodybuilding movement, it is suggested that female bodybuilding is caught in competing cultural currents: the desire to be monstrous, extraordinary individuals of massive size & the requirements of femininity to fit the demure qualities assigned to the female sex. It is in these contradictions that the notion of the perfect female body is worked out in female bodybuilding circles. Female bodybuilding reached its zenith in the late 1980s & early 1990s, when the challenge to conventional female body images was its greatest. However, by the mid-1990s, a backlash against feminism generally caused a reconsideration of what constituted beauty in the female body. At this time, preference was given to female bodies that were less monstrous & more in line with conventional images of femininity. Moreover, female bodybuilders were increasingly represented less as athletes & competitors than as primarily sexual. Eventually, these forces led to a shift away from weightlifting & toward a more general notion of fitness. Constructions of this shift in photography of female bodybuilders, popular culture, & representations of race are examined. The decline in female bodybuilding & the turn to fitness competitions has occurred at the same time that discussions of violence against women are labeled victim feminism; both reveal a pervasive cultural antagonism to positive images of women. The text contains 6 Chpts with Notes. 14 Photographs. D. Ryfe.

  45. Firm but Shapely, Fit but Sexy, Strong but Thin: The Postmodern Aerobicizing Female Bodies

    Markula, Pirkko

    Sociology of Sport Journal, 1995, 12, 4, Dec, 424-453.

    Attempts to reconstruct the cultural dialogue surrounding the female body image in aerobics, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, interviews with aerobicizers, & media analysis. Results indicate that the media ideal is a contradiction: firm but shapely, fit but sexy, strong but thin. Likewise, women's relationships with the media image are contradictory - they struggle to obtain the ideal body, but they also find their battles ridiculous. Interpretation of the findings from a Foucauldian perspective shows how the discourse surrounding the female body image is part of a complex use of power over women in postmodern consumer society. In addition, a feminist perspective is used that assigns an active role to the individual aerobicizers to question the power arrangement. 76 References. Adapted from the source document.

  46. 'Modern Primitivism': Non-Mainstream Body Modification and Racialized Representation

    Klesse, Christian

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 15-38.

    Explores the philosophy of "Modern Primitives," who seek inspiration in the body modification techniques & bodily rituals of so-called "primitive societies." Establishing their prioritization of body, sexuality, community, & spirituality as analytical links, these self-perceived radical opponents of Western modernity are shown to nonetheless remain captured in its foundational discursive assumptions. It is argued that the movement's enthusiastic turn toward "primitivism" represents a particular identity strategy in the late modern condition. Drawing on colonial discourse analysis, it is contended that the primitivist discourse originated as an ideology in colonialism & has informed the construction of the Western self-image. Modern Primitives' notion of "primitivism" is seen as a postcolonial legacy of this tradition of Othering, which inevitably reproduces stereotypes of racialized people. 6 Figures, 53 References. Adapted from the source document.

  47. Body Modification, Self-Multilation and Agency in Media Accounts of a Subculture

    Pitts, Victoria

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 291-303.

    Examines the media's framing of nonmainstream body modification as a social problem, demonstrating, through an analysis of 35 newspaper articles on body modification, that a mutilation discourse is one of the dominant frames of meaning used to make sense of body modifiers. This framing, which effects the pathologization of body modifiers, utilizes the claims making of mental health experts & relies on a gendered account of body modification as a social problem. While news accounts are a medium for presenting body modification to a large "community of speakers," it is suggested that they have precluded the legitimacy of the claims of subcultural actors. A poststructuralist perspective is taken to argue that body modifier "claims from the underside" are subjugated by accounts that problematize body modification through the dominant discourse of the mental health model. This frame is problematic for its silencing of underside or marginal embodied knowledges, eg, alternative accounts of female embodiment. 37 References. Adapted from the source document.

  48. This Body Which Is Not One: Dealing with Differences

    Shildrick, Margrit

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 77-92.

    Explores body modification as normalizing the always already unstable corpus. The dominant post-Enlightenment discourse relies on the notion of the centrality of the individual subject in the singular & separate body, where distinctions between self & Other are secure. Against this, the incidence of monstrosity in general, with its disordered crossing of the boundaries of the proper, offers a gross insult. Focus is on cases of conjoined twinning to demonstrate that the body can only be regarded as one by a process of material & discursive modification, which, nonetheless, finally fails to efface the trace of the monstrous Other that frustrates the closure of the selfsame. 2 Figures, 22 References. Adapted from the source document.

  49. Anchoring the (Postmodern) Self? Body Modification, Fashion, and Identity

    Sweetman, Paul

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 51-76.

    A considerable resurgence in the popularity of tattooing & piercing has been dismissed by some as a fashionable trend, while others have argued that the relative permanence of such forms of body modification militates against their full absorption into the fashion system. Here, interview data from 35 body modifiers (tattooed or pierced) in the UK are drawn on to examine this debate, noting that certain body modifiers appear, in some respects, to regard their tattoos & piercings as decorative accessories. At the same time, however, such corporeal artifacts are approached & experienced as distinct from other, more free-floating products in the "supermarket of style." Whether or not their meaning is fixed in these terms, tattoos & piercings are employed by some as a form of antifashion & a way of fixing or anchoring the reflexively constructed self. In this sense, they share both affinities & differences with other forms of contemporary body project. 73 References. Adapted from the source document.

  50. 'Reclaiming' the Female Body: Embodied Identity Work, Resistance and the Grotesque

    Pitts, Victoria L

    Body & Society, 1998, 4, 3, Sept, 67-84.

    Data collected 1996/97 during open-ended interviews with 15 females on the East & West coasts who considered themselves participants in a community, subculture, or movement of transgressive body modification are drawn on to explore women's use of their bodies as sites of protest. The use of scarification, multiple genital piercing, & other practices by women in the lesbian sadomasochistic movement has been considered self-mutilative (Jeffries, S., 1994). Offered here is a different, but not uncritical, approach that examines the "reclaiming" discourse surrounding these practices & considers how this discourse reflects the feminist poststructuralist project of identity subversion. 34 References. Adapted from the source document.

  51. The Antisocial Skin: Structure, Resistance, and "Modern Primitive" Adornment in the United States

    Rosenblatt, Daniel

    Cultural Anthropology, 1997, 12, 3, Aug, 287-334.

    Examines the cultural & historical context of US "modern primitives," & explores the cultural, political, & individual meanings of body modifications. The relationship between political activism & existing systems of meaning as well as construction & uses of Western ideas of the primitive are discussed. Interviews with members of alternative communities in San Francisco, CA, recount personal experiences of individuals that establish the reasons for, meaning, & goals of tattooing, scarification, & piercing. It is shown how these individuals blend Western views of the world (eg, cosmogonic mythology & classical economic structures) & peculiarly US views of the self, society, & experience. Reasons for the appeal of modern primitivism are assessed. Cultural systems provide a framework or set of possibilities for social activity rather than determining it. It is concluded that the activity of body modification is a reaction to life in industrialized society & offers a way to express the desire to affect change. 1 Figure, 72 References. T. Arnold.

  52. Nonmainstream Body Modification: Genital Piercing, Branding, Burning, and Cutting

    Myers, James

    Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 1992, 21, 3, Oct, 267-306.

    Participant observation & interview data collected over 2 years at 6 workshops organized for San Francisco's (Calif) sadomasochist community & at similar gatherings on the West Coast are used to examine the phenomenon of nonmainstream body modification, with an emphasis on genital piercing, branding, & cutting. Topics discussed include: the pleasures & problems of fieldwork with nonmainstream body modifiers, & factors motivating involvement in a behavior that is not only physically painful but is considered repugnant & even psychopathological by US society. 1 Appendix, 42 References. Adapted from the source document.

  53. Tattooing and Body Piercing: Body Art Practices among College Students

    Greif, Judith; Hewitt, Walter; Armstrong, Myrna L

    Clinical Nursing Research, 1999, 8, 4, Nov, 368-385.

    Survey data are used to explore the demographic characteristics, motivational factors, & health concerns of 766 tattoed &/or body-pierced college students in 18 US & 1 Australian universities. Subjects obtained tattoos (73%) &/or body piercing (63%) during the traditional ages of college attendance, ie, 18-22 (69%). More frequent health problems & impulsive decision making were noted for those with body piercing when compared to those tattooed. Three cases of hepatitis were reported. Health professionals should openly discuss body art with students, convey a nonjudgmental attitude, & assist with informed decision making to either reduce risks or dissuaded. 1 Table, 1 Figure. Adapted from the source document.

  54. Tattoos and Heroin: A Literary Approach

    McCarron, Kevin

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 305-315.

    Contends that a parallel exists between the practice of tattooing & the injection of heroin, as both activities are represented in a body of literature here called "Junk Narratives," eg, William Burroughs's Junky (1977 [1953]), Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting (1996), Jerry Stahl's Permanent Midnight (1995), & David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (1996). In these books, act & meaning, as in life, are inseparable: tattoos can be interpreted, but that they are tattoos, that they have been indelibly inscribed into the flesh, is also stressed. In these books, tattoos are represented as, in addition to whatever specific interpretive significance can be attached to them, visible markers of the hatred junkies feel for their own bodies. It is suggested that the body in these texts is always a source of shame & horror. Tattoos in these books do not decorate a body, rather they visibly emphasize its pathetic corporeality: no flesh, no image. The central dynamic of these texts is toward the transcendence of the body by the injection of heroin, a use of the needle that mimics the practice of tattooing & stresses the subservient, inessential nature of the body. 16 References. Adapted from the source document.

  55. The Possibility of Primitiveness: Towards a Sociology of Body Marks in Cool Societies

    Turner, Bryan S

    Body & Society, 1999, 5, 2-3, June-Sept, 39-50.

    It is argued that tattooing & body piercing in modern societies cannot be naively innocent acts; such activities cannot recapture primitiveness, because they take place in a social context where social membership is not expressed through hot loyalties & thick commitments. Body marks in primitive society were obligatory signatures of social membership in solidaristic groups, wherein life-cycle changes were necessarily marked by tattooing & scarification. Modern societies are metaphorically like airport departure lounges where passengers are encouraged to be cool & distant, orderly & regulated. Critiqued are recent attempts to discover & unearth Dionysian moments of creative tribalism in modern youth groups or working-class communities. Body marks are commercial objects in a leisure marketplace & have become optional aspects of a body aesthetic, which playfully & ironically indicate social membership. They cannot serve as charismatic entrance points to the primitive. 28 References. Adapted from the source document.

  56. The Precarious Visibility Politics of Self-Stigmatization: The Case of HIV/AIDS Tattoos

    Brouwer, Dan

    Text and Performance Quarterly, 1998, 18, 2, Apr, 114-136.

    One of the ethical issues that emerges in discussions about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) & acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is disclosure of serostatus - who should know if an individual is HIV-antibody positive, when, & by what means? For seropositive individuals, day-to-day existence is characterized by strategies of concealment & revealment about their seropositivity. Here, as indicated in case examples, some seropositive individuals have chosen to disclose their serostatus rather indiscriminately by nonverbal, rather than verbal, means through the acquisition of an HIV/AIDS tattoo. These tattoos textualize the body by rendering the surface of the skin communicative about the interior (seropositive) status of the blood, tissues, & organs. Asymptomatic tattoo wearers render the invisible visible. This phenomenon is politically precarious, functioning critically to problematize assumptions about space & appearances of health while simultaneously raising the specter of repressive or violent surveillance. 33 References. Adapted from the source document.

  57. Tattoos, Abjection, and the Political Unconscious: Toward a Semiotics of the Pinto Visual Vernacular

    Olguin, B V

    Cultural Critique, 1997, 37, fall, 159-213.

    Examines how male Chicano convicts use body tattoing as part of a discourse of political resistance, drawing wider conclusions about how convicted bodies are written & interpreted, the US war on crime, & Chicano status. Discussion draws on a qualification of Michel Foucault's (1979) analysis of hegemony & surveillance to argue that some prisoners are able to use their position as convicts to regain their bodies through illegal tattoing. The logistics of the cultural practice of Tatuteando are described, & its various meanings are explored. The tattoos & prison writings of Raul Salinas (eg, 1980) exemplify how tattoing can fuse oppression & its transgression & reflect the Chicano political unconscious. 7 Figures, 1 Appendix, 65 References. E. Blackwell.

  58. Claims-Making and the Construction of Legitimacy: Press Coverage of the 1981 Northern Irish Hunger Strike

    Mulcahy, Aogan

    Social Problems, 1995, 42, 4, Nov, 449-467.

    Examines the media's role in the claims-making process, specifically as this relates to the construction of legitimacy. The 1981 Northern Irish hunger strike was a claims-making activity in which paramilitary prisoners sought to construct themselves as legitimate political actors rather than terrorists. To challenge the assumptions of the criminalization policy that characterized paramilitary organizations as terrorists who lacked popular support, the prisoners contested parliamentary elections & ultimately starved themselves to death. A qualitative content analysis of coverage of their claims in the Irish Times, London Times, & New York Times shows that, while the newspapers offered criticisms of the criminalization policy, they did not present the prisoners' claims as legitimate. It is concluded that local media & cultural understandings of such events may provide sufficient support to sustain these understandings, even in the presence of negative coverage in national media. 61 References. Adapted from the source document.


    Maffesoli, Michel

    xii+176pp, London, Sage Publications, Ltd, 1996

    This volume in the Theory, Culture, & Society series (Mike Featherstone, series editor), translated from the French (Le Temps des tribus, Paris: Meridiens Klincksieck, 1988) by Don Smith, concerns itself with the fragmentation & recasting of solidarity in social life today. It is argued that modernist categories & the foundational narratives that explain & thereby buttress the social order of nation-states are facing profound challenges. Focus is on the small groups & temporary groupings that human beings are members of at different times during the day. It is proposed that these group situations, or tribes, each of which has some degree of self-consciousness & stability, are the central feature & key social fact of the experience of everyday living. Mass culture has disintegrated, & social existence is conducted through fragmented tribal groupings organized around the catchwords, brand names, & sound bites of consumer culture. Despite their fragmentary origin, tribes have strong powers of group solidarity. In the midst of fashion fads, however, new forms of social collectivity are taking root that challenge established models of politics & traditional morals. Ethical aesthetics, the art of living that emphasizes getting along & getting by so as to maintain the solidarity of tribus & facilitate everyday interaction, is also emergent. Rather than questions of universal right or wrong, one deals with questions of appropriateness & fit within situations. Following a Foreword by Rob Shields & an Introduction, the book is organized in 6 Chpts & an Appendix: The Thinking of the Public Square. (1) The Emotional Community: Research Arguments. (2) The Underground Puissance. (3) Sociality vs the Social. (4) Tribalism. (5) Polyculturalism. (6) Of Proxemics. References are encompassed in Chpts Notes. V. Rios, Jr.


    Shields, Rob

    xiii+334pp, New York, NY: Routledge, 1991

    An attempt to develop an alternative geography & sociology of space by examining "places on the margin" - towns & regions that have been left behind in the modern race for progress, published as part of the International Library of Sociology (John Urry, series editor), & presented in III PARTS containing 6 Chpts. Four places & regions are compared to examine the importance of place images to the culture of modernity in North America & England. PART I - opens with an Introduction: Places on the Margin, followed by (1) Alternative Geographies of Modernity - introduces the concept of social spatialization, & argues that the empirical datum of geographical space is mediated by social constructions that become both guides for action & constraints on action. PART II - includes (2) Ritual Pleasures of a Seaside Resort: Liminality, Carnivalesque, and Dirty Weekends - presents an analysis of the cultural positioning of the city of Brighton (England) as a seaside resort to show how its position was constructed within the broader framework of the spatialization of British culture; (3) Niagara Falls: Honeymoon Capital of the World - examines the social construction & spatialization of Niagara Falls (NY) as a tourist attraction, focusing on representations in guide books & local myths, with attention also given to tourist rituals; (4) The True North Strong and Free - examines North America, particularly southern-central Canadian myths of the Arctic & sub-Arctic, arguing that the space myth - or the "True North, strong & free" - has been appropriated as a symbol of Canadian nationalistic discourse, which functions to reconcile regional viewpoints; & (5) The North-South Divide in England - explores the construction of the North/South divide in England, focusing on its origins in nineteenth-century literary works & on the spatial mythology surrounding the English North. PART III - offers (6) Synthesis and Implications - discusses the common themes that unite the four case histories, presents a theoretical synthesis of selected elements in the work of Henri Lefebvre, Pierre Bourdieu, & Michel Foucault, & examines spatialization via the framework of place & space images. A 5-part Bibliography is included, encompassing 910 items. 6 Tables, 20 Figures. W. Howard.