Feminism, Culture and Embodied Practice
The Rhetorics of Comparison
Routledge – 2012 – 192 pages
Within both feminist theory and popular culture, establishing similarities between embodied practices rooted in different cultural and geo-political contexts (e.g. ‘African’ female genital cutting and ‘Western’ cosmetic surgery) has become increasingly common as a means of countering cultural essentialism, ethnocentrism and racism.
Feminism, Culture and Embodied Practice examines how cross cultural comparisons of embodied practices function as a rhetorical device – with particular theoretical, social and political effects - in a range of contemporary feminist texts. It asks: Why and how are cross-cultural links among these practices drawn by feminist theorists and commentators, and what do these analogies do? What knowledges, hierarchies and figurations do these comparisons produce, disrupt and/or reify in feminist theory, and how do such effects resonate within popular culture? Taking a relational web approach that focuses on unravelling the binary threads that link specific embodied practices within a wider representational community, this book highlights how we depend on and affect one another across cultural and geo-political contexts.
This book is valuable reading for undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers in Gender Studies, Postcolonial or Race Studies, Cultural and Media Studies, and other related disciplines.
'…[Demonstrates] both robust theoretical knowledge and clarity of perspective…'
'…[A] highly complex endeavour and a thoroughly enjoyable read for the complexity of its debates, the clarity of its structure and argument, the scope of its critique and the development of the relational web, which is not just a theoretical model but a credible (collective) project for the future. Pedwell has argued her case convincingly but above all with modesty, in full awareness that her critique is not about discrediting previous efforts to address comparisons but about taking the debates to the next stage. The book is consistently mindful of the ethics relating to how this should be done.'
-Angie Voela, University of East London in European Journal of Women's Studies vol 18 no 3
Introduction: Feministm, Culture and Embodied Practice: The Rhetorics of Comparison 1. Comparing Cultures: Feminist Theory, Anti-Essentialism and New Humanisms 2. Critical Frameworks: Intersectionality, Relationality and Embodiment 3. Continuums and Analogues: Linking 'African' Female Genital Cutting and 'Western' Body Modifications 4. Constitutive Comparisons: Producing Muslim Veiling, Anorexia and 'Western' Fashion and Beauty Practices 5. Weaving Relational Webs: Theorising Cultural Difference and Embodied Practice
Carolyn Pedwell is Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Her research interests include feminist and postcolonial theory; gender, cultural difference and ‘the body’; and the transnational politics of emotion and affect. Her work has been published in Feminist Theory, Feminist Review, and Body and Society.