Enwinding Social Theory

Wind and Weather in Zulu Zionist Sensorial Experiences

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 University of Oslo rune.flikke@sai.uio.no
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Abstract

This article discusses the theoretical potential of air, winds, and atmosphere as they place flux, transience, and motion at the center of the human predicament. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted among urban Zulu Zionists, it is argued that the winds blowing across the landscape of KwaZulu-Natal also blew through bodies and in the process restructured subjectivities. Through a general discussion of the phenomenal aspects of air, I argue that we need to approach our sensory relations to weather and atmosphere with a diachronic focus on changing local body-worlds. This is, I argue, a leap of the imagination that is needed in order to challenge the material and visual that implicitly underpin much social theory. Such a theoretical move is needed in order to properly approach weather-worlds.

Contributor Notes

Rune Flikke is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. He has extensive research experience with the African Independent Churches in Durban, South Africa, and recently finished a four-year research project on vaccination in Malawi. In addition to ongoing research on health, healing, weather, and atmosphere, he is currently writing on issues of well-being, nature conservation, alien species, and conceptions of changing landscapes in South Africa.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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