2005_12_06rev - Culture Embodiment and the Senses Tuesday...

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Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses Tuesday, 06 December 2005 Reading Alan Klima, The Funeral Casino: Meditation, Massacre, and Exchange with the Dead in Thailand, ch. 7, pp. 231-290. habitus Pierre Bourdieu – associated with class W his other book Distinction more directly addresses aesthetics in the sense of what are the symbols in our outward appearance that are particular to classes and groups W possible to manipulate symbols of outward appearance to become closer to groups that are either higher or lower than one’s self W presentation of self (Erving Goffman) is a conscious manipulation, could be because of personal meaning but also what image we want to project outwardly The images/symbols we recognize in social space, what is considered beautiful or not – these images are now globalized. People consciously try to manipulate those symbols at the embodied level for themselves, e.g. body image, weight, dress (because all these things have meaning). Klima discusses changes in neoliberal Thailand, globalization of economy and how the influx of the West changed people on the ground. Also consider: were the status symbols used for display? Bourdieu say that people can consciously strategize to adopt the particular class symbols of a certain class habitus . What is the place of death in this day and age? What images circulate after traumatic events? What memories persist in public consciousness? Klima discusses necromantic power and different economies ( economies of life and death ). Method! Klima starts out chapter reminding us, p.231: For change to come, it seems, someone must die. Only catastrophe can work the magic of necromancy on history. ..the revolting history of sacrifice never works out the way people intend it. (Alan Klima, The Funeral Casino , 2002: 231) He’s lamenting a change in society in a global, neoliberal period in terms of how relationship are valued, what is valued in the market, what images are being consumed – even though these changes are occurring, there’s still something that’s remaining in terms of our more traditional associations with others and our relationships. subjectivity – each ethnography has taken a different perspective on how it is that the study of society relates to how we relate to each other. Klima addresses Western themes such as economy, black market, circulation of images, globalization, World Bank, IMF. This focus allows the text to be more accessible because Klima is characterizing the certain state of the globalized/neoliberal world of today. He does dip 12/06/05, page 1 of 4
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down to individual experience but really focuses on the broader interactions between nations and economy . In the final chapter, Klima relays a story about his father-in-law’s daughter (Klima’s wife).
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2005_12_06rev - Culture Embodiment and the Senses Tuesday...

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