Utopian Somatics and Nationalist Discourse

Joseph S. Alter

in The Wrestler's Body

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1992 | ISBN: 9780520076976
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912175 | DOI:
Utopian Somatics and Nationalist Discourse

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This chapter looks at the way in which somatics translates into a nationalist discourse as the wrestler is cast in the role of perfect citizen. Wrestlers have a specific, overtly circumscribed interpretation of modernity, and often provided unsolicited critical commentaries on the state of the modern world. It became apparent that these were not the usual conservative and often anachronistically nostalgic retrospectives. In fact, a refined and critical evaluation of the current moral, economic, and political state of affairs in India is central to the practice of wrestling as a way of life. From the wrestler's perspective, an affliction of modernity assails the human body and thereby directly undermines the integrity of the modern state. A fairly elaborate discourse has developed that both delineates the precise nature of this affliction and offers a utopian alternative.

Keywords: somatics; nationalist discourse; wrestlers; modernity; India; wrestling; human body

Chapter.  7707 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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