Techniques of the Body and Identity Transformation

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Human beings are active creatures that engage in different routine activities. To some, such routines are automatic, but Marcel Mauss thinks these are not automatic but resultant of learned and practiced techniques of the body (Mauss, 1934). Whether it is lifting a spoon full of food and directing it to the mouth or complex techniques like analysing the stock market, these are not just automatic activities, but they are learned techniques. Different parts of the body, under the direction of the mind, are programmed to move in a certain way, resulting to repeated practices that form a part of daily habits (Lizardo, 2004). Every activity that the body performs requires some skills, even simple activities like sleeping or resting. The technique of the body plays a critical role in identity formation and transformation, because identity formation is an ongoing reflexive project that changes with acquisition of new techniques of the body.  This study explores how techniques of the body play a part in identity transformation using an example from contemporary lifestyle television.

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Description

Assessment 3: Final term paper
Due Date: Friday, 2nd November 2018, 11:59pm
Length: 2000 word essay
Worth: 40% of final grade

 

Research content: For this exercise you will be expected to engage in and show evidence of scholarly research by referencing appropriate readings from the Reader and at least four (4) external sources.

Brief: Choose one of the set questions/topics and write a 2000 word research essay. Questions will be posted on LMS four weeks ahead of the due date.

What this exercise entails: The aim of this exercise is to reflect critically on the set question and to offer a theoretically-informed response and/or argument using concepts and ideas sourced from course material and independent research. Where appropriate you should illustrate your points and claims with examples (eg. media texts and artefacts; media and everyday life practices). You should define and theorize the concept(s) you have chosen to study, explain how they work and produce their effects, and illustrate/analyse their specific operations in the examples/case studies under analysis.

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Answer

Human beings are active creatures that engage in different routine activities. To some, such routines are automatic, but Marcel Mauss thinks these are not automatic but resultant of learned and practiced techniques of the body (Mauss, 1934). Whether it is lifting a spoon full of food and directing it to the mouth or complex techniques like analysing the stock market, these are not just automatic activities, but they are learned techniques. Different parts of the body, under the direction of the mind, are programmed to move in a certain way, resulting to repeated practices that form a part of daily habits (Lizardo, 2004). Every activity that the body performs requires some skills, even simple activities like sleeping or resting. The technique of the body plays a critical role in identity formation and transformation, because identity formation is an ongoing reflexive project that changes with acquisition of new techniques of the body.  This study explores how techniques of the body play a part in identity transformation using an example from contemporary lifestyle television.