The Orifice as Sacrificial Site: Culture, Organization and the Body (Sociological Imagination & Structural Change S.)
By: James A. Aho (author)Paperback
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"Dirty things," the entryways and exits of our bodies, as well as their exuviae and influents, are mysteriously enchanting. Yet they are also terrifying. As a result, they have been perennial objects of devotion, and everywhere they have become subject to ritualization. In his customarily pointed way, Aho, who has written previous books on the survivalist sects of the Northwest, here explores cross-cultural primary documents to characterize what he calls "orificial regimes" in ancient Judaism, early Christianity, Brahmanism, and Tantrism. He also offers comparable observations on Islam and on selected tribal cultures. He then accounts for variations in these regimes by examining the prophetic origins and the organizational structures of the religions that formulate them. Whereas other treatments of orifice restraints typically invoke pop psychologies, Aho instead employs the full resources of Mills's "sociological imagination." He situates things so private and small as to be almost "invisibly there" within the context of overarching social structures as these course through history.
In so doing, he is able to show how primitive orificial concerns still resonate today in modern hearts, and how today's worldwide "culture wars" have been prefigured time and again, everywhere across the globe. His new book challenges and unsettles conventional truisms about the body openings, what goes into them and what comes out. It shows how the "dirtiests" of things are also in many ways the most dear, and it recalls the work of the early classic sociologists who made similar connections between past and present, periphery and center.
James Aho, Idaho State University.
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- ID: 9780202306742
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