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The Body in Motion

Communism and Epistemology in Iva Pekárková's Novel Truck Stop Rainbows

Simona Fojtová

Drawing on feminist conceptualisations of the body, this essay analyses Iva Pekárková’s novel, Truck Stop Rainbows (published as Péra a Perutě [Feathers and wings] in 1989, translated into English in 1992), to show how this contemporary Czech writer challenges the metaphor of the female body as a container through which communist propaganda in Czechoslovakia offi cially sanctioned and established a normative female identity in maternal, economic and civic functions. I seek to demonstrate how Fialka, the female protagonist who lives under the Czechoslovak communist regime of the 1980s, critiques discursive and epistemic formations that conceptualised the female body as a vessel for reproduction and labour and denied the female body the authority to function as a source of knowledge. Striving to spotlight the body in its cognitive role, I argue for an understanding of the body not as an instrument of knowledge or a neutral medium that enables knowledge production but, rather, as a condition of the possibility of knowing.

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Guarding the Body

Private Security Work in Rio de Janeiro

Erika Robb Larkins

Drawing on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the private security industry, this article focuses on the training of low-level guards, examining the centrality of the body and embodied experience to their work in hospitality settings. In a racially stratified society in which lower-class, dark-skinned bodies are oft en equated with poverty and criminality, security guards are required to perform an image of upstanding, respectable, law-abiding citizens in order to do their jobs protecting corporate property. Guards learn techniques of body management at security schools as part of their basic training. They also learn how to subdue the bodies of others, including those of white elites, who represent a constant challenge to their authority. Working from my own experiences as a student in private security schools, I argue for the relevance of an understanding of the body and its significations to private security work.

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The Significance of the Body

The Construction of Masculinity among German Students

Jurgen Budde

This article discusses strategies of constructing masculinity among German school boys and shows the close interrelation of social status, social and symbolic value, and the success or failure of playing with male gender orders. It highlights the important role of the body in these processes. Based on data from ethnographical research the article shows that the body is an actor as well as target in the subordination strategies, which often includes the feminisation of other boys

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Digitizing the Western Gaze

The End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign

Jessica Cammaert

The increasing digitization of print media has resulted in the expansion of female genital mutilation (FGM) eradication efforts from print articles, editorials and novels, to online newspapers. The Guardian recently launched an online “End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign,” incorporating video, film, and multimedia. This report reviews the digitization of FGM eradication efforts by comparing End FGM to past anti-female circumcision screen texts. Focusing on a film featured in the campaign, Shara Amin and Nabaz Ahmed’s 2007 documentary, A Handful of Ash, this report applies a post-colonial feminist critique of gender, sexuality and colonialism to examine how the digitization of pain and suffering is mobilized and consumed. Comparing the film to anti-circumcision screen texts, Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé and Sherry Hormann’s Desert Flower, this report historicizes the global media campaign and highlights its’ repackaging of past imperialist discourses on the body in new digitized ways.

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Einat Bar-On Cohen

Training toward 'perfect timing' in karate entails deciphering small movements and interpreting them as signs of an opponent's decision to launch an attack. It includes the aptitude to perceive those signs and react to them before the attacker is aware of her own decision. It also depends on the ability of the body to perceive and move without recourse to cognition. This article considers the body in its own right as well as how it is involved in social construction. Following Sheet-Johnstone, the article contends that movement as it is performed is a tool of data collecting, sense making, and action. It attempts to show how movement organizes a social setting that enables intentionality and also opens up the possibility of violence obstructing that intentionality.

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Beyond the Body Count

Field Notes as First Responder Witness Accounts

Patricia Krueger-Henney

I position critical ethnographic researcher field notes as an opportunity to document the physical and ideological violence that white settler states and institutions on the school-prison nexus inflict on the lives of girls of color generally and Black girls specifically. By drawing on my own field notes, I argue that critical social science researchers have an ethical duty to move their inquiries beyond conventions of settler colonial empirical science when they are wanting to create knowledges that transcend traditions of body counts and classification systems of human lives. As first responders to the social emergencies in girls’ lives, researchers can make palpable spatialization of institutionalized forms of settler epistemologies to convey more girl-centered ways of speaking against quantifiable hierarchies of human life.

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The Body Inside Out

Menstrual Management and Gynecological Practice in Brazil

Emilia Sanabria

Drawing on ethnographic work on menstruation and gynecological examinations and surgeries in Salvador, Brazil, this article explores the way that bodily boundaries are constituted through medical practices. Focusing on the re-enactment of the boundary between the inside and the outside of bodies, it analyzes that which is detached from bodies and, by falling away from them, contributes to their constitution. It then considers how the gynecological examination and vaginal plastic surgery can be used to speak of the problematic and contingent act of delimiting bodies from the inside out.

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The Body Out of Place

Strangers, Intimates and Destabilized Identities in Synge's When the Moon Has Set and Marina Carr's The Bog of Cats . . .

Mary King

‘Thinking about how we might work with, and speak to, others, or how we may inhabit the world with others, involves imagining a different form of political community, one that moves beyond the opposition between friends and strangers, or between sameness and difference’.

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Sue Frohlick, Kristin Lozanski, Amy Speier and Mimi Sheller

What mobilizes people to take up reproductive options, directions, and trajectories in ways that generate the possibilities and practices of mobilities? People’s desires for procreation or to resolve fertility challenges or partake in sperm donation, egg freezing, or surrogacy; the need for abortion services; and forced evacuation for childbirth care all involve movement. Reproductive aspirations, norms, and regulations move people’s bodies, as well as related technologies and bioproducts. At the same time, these corporeal, material, in/tangible mobilities of bodies, things, and ideas are also generative of reproductive imaginaries and practices. Reproduction is mobile and movement affects reproduction. Building from an interdisciplinary workshop on reproductive mobilities in Kelowna, Canada, this article aims to push the mobilities framework toward the edges of feminist, affect, queer, decolonizing, materialist, and nonrepresentational theories in thinking through both reproduction and movement.

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'The body always has at least one wound'

Pia Tafdrup in Conversation

Ruth O'Callaghan and Pia Tafdrup

Pia Tafdrup is a, possibly the, premier poet of Denmark, who has garnered many accolades and awards including the coveted Nordic Prize – the most prestigious literary award of the five Scandinavian countries – and the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize 2006. She has travelled throughout the world with her poetry and her work has been translated into many languages. She is a member of the Danish Academy and the prestigious European Academy of Poetry.