Accepted Paper:

Emanet bodies in Istanbul: exercise, temporality and change  


Sertac Sehlikoglu (University College London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper introduces Istanbulite women’s exercise trend, spor merakı (interest in sport) through the lens of time. By analysing women’s physical movement in relation to shifting temporalities in their lives, it presents how women reconstruct their being the world.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, in-depth interviews and participant observation with exercising Istanbulite women, this paper focuses on the changing relationship women build with global trends, through their moving bodies. This paper is about how women understand and experience their moving bodies in and through time, through cosmological and everyday rhythms and patterns. I especially deal with the Islamic notion of "emanet" which is often translated as "trust" and refers to the temporality of the body. By looking closely at the way in which women define the concept, I suggest that women shift the meaning of the concept from an understanding that is based on guarding certain body parts against committing sins to an Islamic understanding based on caring for one's body. While doing so, I argue, my interlocutors also change the ways in which the body is thought about in relation to a larger cosmology (i.e. the afterlife). I argue that exercising enables my interlocutors to gain their own sense of temporality, open up a path for change that is not only more than a bodily change, but involves a transformation in the way they see their temporal connection to the world and to their lives.

Panel P121
Mobility, power and possibility: the search for liveable lives [ANTHROMOB]