Chapter

The Embodiment of Cultural Identity

Paul Gilbert

in Cultural Identity and Political Ethics

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748623877
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671991 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623877.003.0005
The Embodiment of Cultural Identity

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This chapter contends that collective cultural identities consist merely in common surface features of appearance and behaviour, however deep going an individual's reasons for engaging in such practices may be. This is illustrated by an extended discussion of the significance of the burqa, misunderstandings of which have led to discrimination against its wearers in France and elsewhere. The distinction between the body-for-self and the body-for-others, developed in the work of Merleau-Ponty and Sartre, is used to explore the cultural meanings of dress and behaviour. These are shown to depend upon the types of identity in terms of which the group is constructed, as discussed in the previous chapter.

Keywords: Body-for others; Body-for-self; Burqa; Cultural meanings; France; Merleau-Ponty; Sartre

Chapter.  9783 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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