Body, self, and society : the view from Fiji by Anne E. Becker

By Anne E. Becker

Anne E. Becker examines the cultural context of the embodied self via her ethnography of physically aesthetics, nutrients trade, care, and social relationships in Fiji. She contrasts the cultivation of the body/self in Fijian and American society, arguing that the inducement of usa citizens to paintings on their our bodies' shapes as a private activity is authorized by means of their thought that the self is individuated and self reliant. nevertheless, simply because Fijians drawback themselves with the cultivation of social relationships mostly expressed via nurturing and nutrients alternate, there's a vested curiosity in cultivating others' our bodies instead of one's own.

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What seems to differentiate the Westerner from the Fijian, therefore, is not the ability to construct and admire an ideal, nor the ability to identify the core values reflected in it, but rather, as we shall see in the pages that follow, the interest and investment in attaining the ideal by cultivating, nurturing, and disciplining the body. The Cultural Construction of Bodily Aesthetics The corporeal form registers the personal and social history that forges it, its contours remarkably malleable to efforts to remold or embellish them.

Where there is cultural validation of expression of autonomy through the body and authorization of a congruity of body with identity, bodily cultivation is permitted and even celebrated. Effecting autonomy through the discipline of the body has been evident in the discourse on body and gender. Feminists and religious schol- ars have noted that women, historically constrained by patriarchic authority, have otherwise sought autonomy and personal control through the use of their bodies, particularly with respect to dietary restraint.

This is especially true of relationships between tavale and tauvu. Some of these transactions are greeted with acknowledged ambivalence, yet in theory the binding moral obligation to give supersedes any perceived personal sacrifice, or, more accurately, should militate against even experiencing it as a sacrifice. Exchange on this level is facilitated by the convention of kerekere, which frames a request as something which cannot be easily refused. 29 Fijians exercise kerekere with some degree of restraint, but all in all, favors, personal time, household goods, and food circulate from person to person and group to group, making the notion of ownership relative.

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