Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji (New Cultural 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 undertaking is allowed via their suggestion that the self is individuated and self sufficient. nonetheless, simply because Fijians quandary themselves with the cultivation of social relationships principally expressed via nurturing and meals trade, there's a vested curiosity in cultivating others' our bodies instead of one's own.

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Extra resources for Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji (New Cultural Studies Series)

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As I reformulate my field experience in a written analysis, I have all but forgotten the initial frustration and emotional sea that attended the experiencethe cacophony of village noises and once-unfamiliar dialect, the multitude of flies and mosquitoes, and the oppressive humidity are virtually screened from my memory. I realize, rather helplessly, that I have edited the experience at every retrospective pause. Page xii What I do recall is the long period during which I was considered a vulagi, or guest, and my friends and hosts dutifully translated and explained what they felt I needed to know.

This challenges the notion that the body is an apparatus of the self. Chapter 3 demonstrates how social processes, notably caring, are embodied in individuals via feeding and evidence of weight fluctuation. The Fijian core emphasis on expression of care (best represented in the local idiom of vikawaitaki), is concretized in formal exchange, feast preparation, and routine food sharing in the community. Cultivation of bodily space is further established as collective enterprise rather than a personal pursuit.

In the Eastern Caroline Islands, the Kapinga understand the person as "a locus of social relationships, of shared biographies" (Lieber 1990:74). The Hawaiian self-concept is "based on interpersonal bonds of emotional exchange and reciprocity"; for them, "self is a socially interactive concept tied to correct social behavior," which prescribes generosity, cooperation, and extension of mutual aid to others (Ito 1985:301, 320). And the Melanesian Solomon Islanders make "solidarity" an explicit Page 5 ideal and attribute misfortune to bad feelings incurred in strained interpersonal relations (White 1985:34950).

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