Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji

Synopsis

Anne E. Becker examines the cultural context of the embodied self through her ethnography of bodily aesthetics, food exchange, care, and social relationships in Fiji. She contrasts the cultivation of the body/self in Fijian and American society, arguing that the motivation of Americans to work on their bodies' shapes as a personal endeavor is permitted by their notion that the self is individuated and autonomous. On the other hand, because Fijians concern themselves with the cultivation of social relationships largely expressed through nurturing and food exchange, there is a vested interest in cultivating others' bodies rather than one's own.