Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance

The Culture and History of a South African People

Publication Date: 01/01/1985

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This was a ground-breaking book when it first came out. It helped catapult Jean Comaroff into the realms of anthropological stardom. Her analysis of the structural violence of life in South Africa, as experienced at the level of the social body and the individual body was (is) lucid and compelling. Her descriptions of everyday forms of resistance – domestics and their nail polish, the neo-church of Zion, for example – helped an entire generation of anthropologists understand that the body was (is) an important theoretical object of study, and that one could move beyond the very important work of Mary Douglas. Comaroff’s work, paralleled with Alan Young’s earlier work on Zar possession cults, offers important insights into the ways in which history, gender, the state, racism, religion and resilience collide with heart-wrenching and yet inspiring impacts. HyL, Goodreads

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