Eastern Movement Forms as Body-Self Transforming Cultural Practices in the West: Towards a Sociological Perspective
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Unlike the spectacular diffusion of modern Western sporting forms, Eastern movement forms (martial arts, Eastern dance, Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, etc.) have been quietly entering the fabric of everyday Western life over the past few decades. Adopting a structurationist approach that seeks to retain relationships between macro-, meso- and micro-levels of culture, this article considers data gathered from a range of long-term Western practitioners of a variety of Eastern movement forms in juxtaposition to broader media and documentary data also gathered on these practices. The analysis explores three Western social forces (Orientalism, reflexive modernization and commodification.) identified as acting on these movement forms in ways that intensify the process of (re)invention of tradition with particular transformative tensions. In conclusion, we identify three dispositions (preservationism, conservationism, and modernization) emerging from our analysis of these movement forms that seem to drive how individuals respond to the transformative Western social forces highlighted.
Brown, D. and Leledaki, A. (2010) 'Eastern movement forms as body-self transforming cultural practices in the West: towards a sociological perspective', Cultural Sociology 4 (1), pp. 123-154.
This article was published in Cultural Sociology on 4 March 2010 (online), available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1749975509356866
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