The Normal Body - Anthropology of Bodily Otherness

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The Normal Body - Anthropology of Bodily Otherness

Human biology and medical science focus on the normality of the human body. This focus deserves, however, to be questioned. Cultural studies, in contrast, focus on normalities in plural - normalities of diverse cultures, revealed by comparison and under the historical perspective of change. The normality and otherness of bodily ageing delivers pictures for this analytical problem, among these the figure of the shaman, the elderly as healer.

Normality is connected with power. That is why the cultural analysis of normalization can be connected with the theory of democracy, especially with the understanding of human sovereignty and equality, otherness and recognition.

Likewise, the theory of sports as a field of trialectic tensions opens up concrete, bodily differences. The body of the Japanese sumo wrestler delivers a living picture of how to relate to bodily otherness. This leads to a deeper understanding of the politics of recognition and of bodily relativity. Additionaly, normality in terms of biology and normalities in terms of cultural studies need to be confronted within a critical dialogue.

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