Body, culture and social tensions
Josep Marti (IMF-CSIC)
Alba Valenciano-Mañé (Leipzig University)
Start time:
29 June, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel takes as a starting point the central role that the body plays in the individual-society link. It focuses on the relationship that we can establish between social presentation of the body and social tensions within the framework of African societies.

Long abstract:

The centrality of the body within the individual-society relationship is particularly evident in situations of social interaction. Very often, the social presentation of the body in these situations is a sign, cause or consequence of social tensions. These tensions are observed, for example, in situations in which a man or a woman does not fit in with the body image according to social expectations of gender; in the black body that sticks out in a white environment, or vice versa; in bodies that understand the modern look as a form of empowerment in social fields which are still attached to tradition; in those sick or "deviant" bodies which are hidden because of the inherent tensions that are associated with their mere display in a public space, etc. If we understand by "tension" the dynamic play that occurs between elements that are in conflict due to the discrepancy of norms and values in a given situation, it is not difficult to put "tension" in relation with the social presentation of the body. In situations of social interaction, when the body as taken as a focal point, there are many and very diverse moments of tension generated by social narratives related to ethnicity, gender, social class, the tradition/modernity dichotomy, etc. This panel is thus intended for those papers that, clearly centered on the body, address aspects of social tensions in the framework of African societies in a descriptive or theoretical manner.