The Body: The Threshold
Between Nature and Culture
The materialism of contemporary societies is widely deplored. But why do the critics not stress that consummate fashion also helps detach human beings from objects? Under the regime of use value, we no longer become attached to things; we readily trade in our houses, our cars, or our furniture. The age that imparts social sanctity to merchandise is an age in which people part from their objects without pain. We no longer love things for themselves or for the social status they confer, but for the services they render, for the pleasures they provide, for a perfectly exchangeable use value. In this sense, fashion makes things less real; it takes away their substance through the homogenous cult of utility and novelty. What we own we will replace; the more objects become our prosthesis, the less we care about them. Our relation to them stems now from an abstract, paradoxically disembodied love.1
This last chapter brings together the two former contexts discussed in Part III - space and time - by looking at how they are united in the socio-physical entity of the human body. Part of the aim in so doing is to see to what extent the theme of ‘containment’2 as a cultural process is ensconced within the body, and if so, how that embodiment is effected. Containment has been defined as ‘a particular kind of eccentric order’3 used to characterise the objectification of the contradictory nature of modernity, the impulse to re-integrate the increasingly fragmentary tangled texture of contemporary everyday life. In Chapter____________________
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Wild Things:The Material Culture of Everyday Life. Contributors: Judy Attfield - Author. Publisher: Berg. Place of publication: Oxford, England. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 237.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.