Individuality is often interpreted as a force for the separation and autonomy of the individual. This book takes a different approach: the contributors explore the expression of individuality as a form of social action inextricably linked to questions of belonging. This book addresses a continuing effort within anthropology to interrogate sociality. Using case studies from North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, the contributors examine a wide range of topics. Covering everything from studies of childhood and family relations to patterns of movement for tourism, work, and religious pilgrimage; from the spinning of fashions to the sculpting of life narratives, the contributors analyse the shifting forms of the cultural politics of distinction. The book illustrates the variation and ingenuity with which people in various settings claim diverse forms of individuality, their motivations for doing so, and the outcomes of their actions.
Vered Amit is Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her recent publications include, as co-author with Nigel Rapport, Community, Cosmopolitanism and the Problem of Human Commonality (Pluto, 2012), and as editor Thinking through Sociality: An Anthropological Interrogation of Key Concepts (2015). Noel Dyck is Professor of Social Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is the author or editor of seven previous books.
Acknowledgements 1 On Claiming Individuality: An Introduction to the Issues Vered Amit (Concordia University in Montreal) and Noel Dyck (Simon Fraser University in British Columbia) 2 In the Aftermath of Death: Presenting Self, Individuality and Family In An Iyangar Family in Chennai, 1994 - Mattison Mines (University of California, Santa Barbara) 3 Growing up in the Caribbean: Individuality in the Making - Karen Fog Olwig (University of Copenhagen) 4 Distinction and Co-Construction: Diaspora Asian Fashion Entrepreneurs in London - Parminder Bhachu (Clark University in Massachusetts) 5 Claiming Individuality through 'Flexibility': Career Choices and Constraints among Traveling Consultants - Vered Amit 6 A Personalized Journey: Tourism and Individuality - Julia Harrison (Trent University) 7 Becoming Educated, Becoming an Individual? Tropes of Distinction and "Modesty" in French Narratives of Rurality - Deborah Reed-Danahay (University of Texas at Arlington) 8 An Anatomy of Humour: The Charismatic Repartee of Trevor Jeffries in the Mitre Pub - Nigel Rapport (Concordia University, Montreal) 9 Proclaiming Individual Piety: Pilgrims and Religious Renewal in Cote d'Ivoire - Marie Nathalie LeBlanc (Concordia University) 10 Claiming to be Croat: The Risks of Return to the Homeland - Daphne Winland (York University) Notes on Contributors Index