Two bodies or one? Reconsidering the anthropological idea of dichotomization as the basic mechanism of cultural thought about the body

  • Bojan Žikić Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
Keywords:
the body, cultural thought, Cartesian thought in anthropology

Abstract

In contemporary anthropology there are two prevailing ideas on the ways in which the human body is culturally thought of: dualism and monism. The first idea is linked to Western societies, and the second is linked to traditional communities, which are the most frequent frame of reference for anthropological research, from the inception of the discipline up to contemporary times. The third, less prevalent idea suggests that there is no substantial difference between these different types of society, that all people, essentially, think about the body in a dualist way. The idea behind this paper is to set a basis for research which might come to show that, indeed, there is no substantial difference between ways in which people conceptualize the body and its cultural aspects in different societies, but that this is not the case because "we are all dualists", but because both dualist and monist cultural conceptualization of the body is contextual, and both of these can be found in societies and cultures which we signify as "modern" or "western".

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Published
2014-12-08
How to Cite
Žikić, Bojan. 2014. “Two Bodies or One? Reconsidering the Anthropological Idea of Dichotomization As the Basic Mechanism of Cultural Thought about the Body”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 9 (4), 849-78. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v9i4.2.

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