2005_11_29rev - Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses...

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Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses Tuesday, 29 November 2005 Reading Alan Klima, The Funeral Casino: Meditation, Massacre, and Exchange with the Dead in Thailand, skim chs. 1 and 2, read chs. 3-5, pp. 53-165. Klima is looking at relationships that are on some level sensory – we have to think, are they sensory or not in terms of political economy, globalization, play of images in media? These are not aspects of experience that we’ve seen in the earlier ethnographies that we’ve looked at. Klima offers a broader analysis that works its way down. What aspects of day to day life is Klima focuses on? In effect, he’s focusing on events – this isn’t the same feel one would get if he were living with a family. Pay attention to these different levels of analysis – but he’s still examining on the level of the sensory. Karl Marx – Some of what’s underlying Klima’s analysis are ideas of exchange and the market, how objects/things can come to have power when circulated in public space. The Marxist theories applied here are commodity fetishism and alienation . Remember Scheper-Hughes and Lock: how in the Western capitalistic society, people feel alienated from their bodies and this is contributing to a sense of disorder. Marx talked about development of economic production: W started with feudal society – e.g. guilds, certain products that are traded locally, a lot of skill/expertise involved W next phase is capitalism – production of objects is expanded, effort to standardize and mechanize production, taking it out of the hand of the skilled worker and shifts production to the capitalist (e.g. assembly line production) – the idea of modern, liberal economics . laborers don’t need skill to do the repetitive tasks, and this takes away some of the special qualities that inhere when objects are produced individually W conclusions: alienation of workers’ labor from process of production + how these objects are no longer traded on a personal level, when put into broader capitalist economy causes their value to be commodified (monetary value attached) such that currency is the thing we use to trade goods and services. the market value is higher than the actual cost of labor. profit accumulates in the limited number of people who have the means to circulate these objects. W Marx laments that there are no longer personal exchanges and the fact that objects no longer have that special meaning. Keep in mind ideas of circulation and the values and symbolism attached to the object. Marcel Mauss
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2.158 taught by Professor Ericajames during the Spring '03 term at MIT.

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2005_11_29rev - Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses...

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