Updated October 19th, Rating: Cohen does not isolate the study of old age "as a singular object awaiting scholarly appropriation," then, but rather seeks to examine "how age engages larger debates in and out of the academy, particularly those rele- vant to contemporary India and its political economy and public culture" p. The volume is not concerned simply with remembering or forgetting. The book juxtaposes Alzheimer's and the "Bad Family" as the contemporary master narratives of aging and debility in the United States and India respectively. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Current debates on old age in India thus connect with visions of modernity and of the nation.
He scrutinizes hilarious Western tabloid repre- sentations of Alzheimer's, American and Indian medical texts, international gerontology conferences, advertisements for Ayurvedic old age tonics, ancient Indian epics, contemporary Hindi novels and films, observations at Indian medical clinics and retirement ashrams, and ethnographic fieldwork in four neigh- borhoods middle-class and slum of Varanasi. His vignettes are absolutely engrossing. At one point he takes a boat across the Ganges to visit Beriya Baba the Plum-Tree Father , a man who has turned to re- clusive asceticism in his old age, and who punctu-.
Thrust withdraw thrust withdraw.
Perhaps because of his focus on senility, though, Cohen most often leaves out the subjective experiences and perspectives of old people them- selves, concentrating on how the senile old body is represented by others. Presumably senile, hot-minded, weak-brained old people make elusive in- formants? At times, however, I wanted to know how the old person depicted would see things him or her- self. For instance, Cohen describes the socially con- structed "dying space" that families make for their old people, who are described by their children as dying, but who may live for years in their separate room or space.
On his way to visit a male inform- ant, Cohen walks by the "dying space" room of the informant's elderly mother, peering in briefly, even longingly p. Why did not he go in to seek the woman's own story? Did the old woman see herself as such? In some sections of the book, Cohen's ornate style also seems to overshadow any supporting eth- nographic data. Taken as a whole, however, I found the book to be a feast of stories, lives, predicaments, and theory. Probably too difficult for most undergraduate courses, the book will make valuable reading in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in South Asia, medical anthropology, aging, and ethno- graphic writing.
For anyone seriously interested in either aging or South Asia, it is a must and a delight. Between History and Histories: The Making of Silences and Commemorations. University of Toronto Press; pp. This collection of articles examines the intersection between anthropology and history by focusing on the politics of commemorations.
The twelve articles, written by anthropologists and historians, consider how the past is silenced and appropriated by contending social groups who seek to institutionalize particular visions of history. They call attention to the complex ways in which the meaning of the past is constantly shaped and reshaped in the present within broad fields of power and relationships of in- equality.
The volume is not concerned simply with remembering or forgetting. Rather, it explores the re- lationships between commemoration and silence as a process of struggle that is tied to the competing claims of diverse and unequal social groups. The collection demonstrates that plural histories emerge both within the context of broad social processes, that is, "his- tory," and in opposition to them.
This observation leads the editors and some of the contributors to an exploration of the antago- nisms within culture.
These antagonisms, they argue, shape the relationships within, as well as between, classes, and they are key to conceptualizing the or-. Gerald Sider's article examines the contradic- tory ways in which "history" and ethnic "tradition" emerge in the process of class formation among Na- tive Americans.
Social struggles, he concludes, necessarily emerge against both the dominant society and aspects of people's "own" culture. In a similar vein Gavin Smith analyzes the struggles of Peruvian peasants to claim their lives, beliefs, and practices against the efforts of more powerful intellectuals and government bureaucrats to produce their history for them. He shows that intel-.
Directories Courses Discussion Groups. Review of No Aging in India: No Aging in India: The book ultimately argues that the senile body cannot be re- duced to either its biology or its sociality or its cul- ture or its politics, but rather is made via all of these dimensions and their interrelationships. These antagonisms, they argue, shape the relationships within, as well as between, classes, and they are key to conceptualizing the or- ganization and reproduction of societies.
Set your country here to find out accurate prices. United States United Kingdom Canada. Cover may have edge wear, creases or bends. All pages are intact. Dust cover may be missing or if present may have moderate wear. Pages may include some writing and highlighting. May NOT include discs, or access code or other supplemental material. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Great condition for a used book! Alzheimer's, the Bad Family, and Other Modern Things, Cohen attempts to untangle the excessive meanings that overdetermine the bodies of the old in the modern era. He wants to realize "the processes by which the age of a body comes to matter" xvii and, specifically, how the practices "by which bodily decay is experienced, named, measured, treated, and drawn into law and history and science" xvii are constituted.
Through readings of nineteenth-century tropical medical textbooks, aryuvedic rasayana rejuvenation therapies, Indian nationalistic films, retellings of ancient epics, and American supermarket tabloids, Cohen shows that old age is a cultural construct participating in other forms of knowledge and power: Through these imbrications and excesses, the old person is no longer seen as himself or herself, but instead as a metaphor for the moral decay of the family and the nation.
In particular, Cohen distinguishes between cultural and biomedical understandings of old bodies.
He traces a genealogy of gerontology from colonial discourses about "cerebral softening" and accelerated tropical aging to Dr. Ignatz Leo Nascher's disciplinary codification of "geriatrics" in the early twentieth century as a splitting of aging into its normal and its pathological forms. But this split was never so discrete, and the normal and the pathological spill into each other, leaving only a medicalized discourse that shies away from individuality and humanity. Cohen initially went to Benares, a holy city on the Ganges, looking for senile dementia, but to his surprise and consternation couldn't find it.
Instead, he found a set of languages and ideologies that denied the very existence of the plaques and tangles he was searching for. Suddenly, he found himself in new and frightening territory. He had come to study and classify diseases and people but discovered that those very classifying mechanisms were not as stable as he had thought.
No Aging in India: Alzheimer's, The Bad Family, and Other Modern Things [ Lawrence Cohen] on emi-takahashi.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From the. From the opening sequence, in which mid-nineteenth-century Indian fishermen hear No Aging in India Alzheimer's, The Bad Family, and Other Modern Things.
There was no aging in India—at least not until Western ideologies had seeped into the fabric of the nation. Alzheimer's was not a disease of the brain, but a disease of the family.
The decay of family ties, and not some etiologic agent of disease, was seen as the causative factor of particular forms of dementia. Increasingly, Cohen became aware that Alzheimer's was not a fixed, ontologically secure entity but a "set of local and contingent practices rooted in culture and political economy" 6.
What began as a simple anthropological study became a much larger exploration of how modernity and discourse shape the treatment and alienation of aging people. The old body, like Benares, is a plural-field site, where meanings become layered, one on top of another. Age is only one kind of difference, but "as a way of representing and understanding other sorts of differences between individuals and classes of individuals, [it] is critical to the articulation not only of individual bodies but of collective ones" 4.