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This rich ethnography explores beliefs and practices surrounding aging in a rural Bengali village. Sarah Lamb focuses on how villagers' visions of aging are tied to the making and unmaking of gendered selves and social relations over a lifetime. Lamb uses a focus on age as a means not only to open up new ways of thinking about South Asian social life, but also to contribute to contemporary theories of gender, the body, and culture, which have been hampered, the book argues, by a static focus on youth. Lamb's own experiences in the village are an integral part of her book and ably convey the cultural particularities of rural Bengali life and Bengali notions of modernity. In exploring ideals of family life and the intricate interrelationships between and within generations, she enables us to understand how people in the village construct, and deconstruct, their lives. At the same time her study extends beyond India to contemporary attitudes about aging in the United States. This accessible and engaging book is about deeply human issues and will appeal not only to specialists in South Asian culture, but to anyone interested in families, aging, gender, religion, and the body.
The proliferation of old age homes and increasing numbers of elderly living alone are startling new phenomena in India. These trends are related to extensive overseas migration and the transnational dispersal of families. In this moving and insightful account, Sarah Lamb shows that older persons are innovative agents in the processes of social-cultural change. Lamb's study probes debates and cultural assumptions in both India and the United States regarding how best to age; the proper social-moral relationship among individuals, genders, families, the market, and the state; and ways of finding meaning in the human life course.
In such works as Gender Trouble and Bodies That Matter Judith Butler broke new ground in understanding the construction and performance of identities. While Butler's writings have been crucial and often controversial in the development of feminist and queer theory, Bodily Citations is the first anthology centered on applying her theories to religion. In this collection scholars in anthropology, biblical studies, theology, ethics, and ritual studies use Butler's work to investigate a variety of topics in biblical, Islamic, Buddhist, and Christian traditions. The authors shed new light on Butler's ideas and highlight their ethical and political import. They also broaden the scope of religious studies as they bring it into conversation with feminist and queer theory. Subjects discussed include the woman's mosque movement in Cairo, the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the possibility of queer ethics, religious ritual, and biblical constructions of sexuality. Contributors include: Karen Trimble Alliaume, Lewis University; Teresa Hornsby, Drury University; Amy Hollywood, Harvard Divinity School; Christina Hutchins, Pacific School of Religion; Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley; Susanne Mrozik, Mount Holyoke College; Claudia Schippert, University of Central Florida; Rebecca Schneider, Brown University; Ken Stone, Chicago Theological Seminary
Comprehensive multidisciplinary encyclopedia dealing with aging processes and older adults. Intended for "the educated inquirer who needs a brief authoritative introduction to key topics and issues in aging." Signed entries contain cross references. Contains lengthy bibliography. General index.
In the last three decades, the human body has gained increasing prominence in contemporary political debates, and it has become a central topic of modern social sciences and humanities. Modern technologies – such as organ transplants, stem-cell research, nanotechnology, cosmetic surgery and cryonics – have changed how we think about the body. In this collection of thirty original essays by leading figures in the field, these issues are explored across a number of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, including pragmatism, feminism, queer theory, post-modernism, post-humanism, cultural sociology, philosophy and anthropology. A wide range of case studies, which include cosmetics, diet, organ transplants, racial bodies, masculinity and sexuality, eating disorders, religion and the sacred body, and disability, are used to appraise these different perspectives. In addition, this Handbook explores various epistemological approaches to the basic question: what is a body? It also offers a strongly themed range of chapters on empirical topics that are organized around religion, medicine, gender, technology and consumption. It also contributes to the debate over the globalization of the body: how have military technology, modern medicine, sport and consumption led to this contemporary obsession with matters corporeal? The Handbook’s clear, direct style will appeal to a wide undergraduate audience in the social sciences, particularly for those studying medical sociology, gender studies, sports studies, disability studies, social gerontology, or the sociology of religion. It will serve to consolidate the new field of body studies.
Throughout the history of Indian religions, the ascetic figure is most closely identified with power. A by-product of the ascetic path, power is displayed in the ability to fly, walk on water or through dense objects, read minds, discern the former lives of others, see into the future, harm others, or simply levitate one's body. These tales give rise to questions about how power and violence are related to the phenomenon of play. Indian Asceticism focuses on the powers exhibited by ascetics of India from ancient to modern time. Carl Olson discusses the erotic, the demonic, the comic, and the miraculous forms of play and their connections to power and violence. He focuses on Hinduism, but evidence is also presented from Buddhism and Jainism, suggesting that the subject matter of this book pervades India's major indigenous religious traditions. The book includes a look at the extent to which findings in cognitive science can add to our understanding of these various powers; Olson argues that violence is built into the practice of the ascetic. Indian Asceticism culminates with an attempt to rethink the nature of power in a way that does justice to the literary evidence from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sources.

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