Illness & The Body in Cross-cultural Perspectives Continued…
Somatization – Mental illness/condition present those problems in
Culture Bound Syndromes
- A group of folk illnesses that are often connected to wider
- Importantly the body is often a place where culture & society is
Ex’s: Hsiehping – dead relatives posses the individual
Agoraphobia – housewives disease – fear going outside
Zar spirit possession
& Dhat Syndrome – worry about loss of semen in urine.
Theorizing the Body: Anthropology of the Body
Theorizing the Body
Major theoretical approaches
- Body theory
- Mindful bodies
Social Origins of body theory
Durkheim: French sociologists 1800’s – 1900’s
Social Facts: Durkheim
- A science of society is possible. People act in patterned ways..
- The body is a “total social fact” (Mauss – Anthropologist)
- The body is a reflection of culture
- Patterned way of feeling, acting, and thinking.
- society is like an organism/body
corpse corpus (body)
“Bodily sensations are meditate by culture” (Mauss in Singer & Baer,
Marcel Mauss: French Anthropologist (1900’s) & Nephew of Durkheim Culture shapes the body –we adapt our size, shape & appearance to
The body is shaped by culture, social movements, politics, etc.
1950’S Monroe/Mansfield – housewives less social power = larger
1960’S Twiggy – gaining political feminist power – smaller women,
more child like (photographed to be insignificant as a rebuttal to
1970’S, 80’S, 90’S More severe continuation
2000’S -10’S More “real body types”
1950’S Man starts small gets larger as we progress into the 2010’S.
Man becomes “Machine”.
*Watch movie “Tough Guys”
Body Theory: Biopower
- See the history of sexuality (Foucault, 1976)
- Humans are controlled and disciplined through various
instruments Ex. Medicine. Homosexuality - Disease
- Knowledge of the body transformed into power over the body –
Medical knowledge is about ‘population management.’
Medical Gaze is a way of seeing says the patient as a site of disease
meant to be cured.
The Impact of Biopower: The Medical Gaze & De-Humanism
** Do essay on HOUSE SER