Thursday, 29 March 2012
march 29, 2012
here's a synopsis of the book:
"Mary Douglas argues that all modern cultures have concepts of what is pure and impure, clean and taboo. Purity and danger is an anthropological argument about how these concepts are created. Douglas' work in the book is wide-ranging and touches on a number of different cultures and examples. Her basic argument is that a major problem that societies face is that many events are seen as ambiguous and anomalous and this material is hard to interpret cognitively and socially. Additionally, reactions to those might be seen as either valid or invalid in the larger community. Purity and taboo, Douglas argues, emerges as a set of shared values that helps us interpret this and that lets us put things clearly - either in or out."
i'm stoked about reading this book for three reasons:
1. i have a few final frontiers of victorian thinking that i'd like to ponder and undo.
2. i'm a germophobe, and i want to think about why that might be the case.
3. part of my mending project this year is to uncover sources of shame and disentangle myself from them. taboo is probably a rich place to start.
can i just say how much i enjoy that this book came sealed in plastic, then wrapped in bubblewrap and placed in an airtight envelope? seems appropriate somehow, given the topic.
parting caveat: i know i've been doing a lot of conceptual mending, and i will at some point come back down to earth and sew some things up etc etc, but for now, i'm going with it.