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Bad habits and prosthetic performances : negotiation of individuality and embodiment of social status in Australian shark fishing

King, Tanya 2007, Bad habits and prosthetic performances : negotiation of individuality and embodiment of social status in Australian shark fishing, Journal of anthropological research, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 537-560.

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Title Bad habits and prosthetic performances : negotiation of individuality and embodiment of social status in Australian shark fishing
Author(s) King, Tanya
Journal name Journal of anthropological research
Volume number 63
Issue number 4
Start page 537
End page 560
Publisher University of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology
Place of publication Albuquerque, N.M.
Publication date 2007
ISSN 0091-7710
Keyword(s) anthropology
fisherman-sailor
oceania
Australia
social status
performance
manliness
shark
fishing
knowledge
Summary Anthropological discussion of individuality, as a component of masculinity, has tended to focus on either the performance and championing of autonomy in the West (e.g., Kapferer) or the manner in which people in non-Western contexts become explicitly manifest through relationships with others (e.g., Strathern). In this paper, I consider an atypical example of masculine identity by describing intimate interpersonal relationships between Australian commercial shark boat skippers and their young deckhands. As in other Western fisheries (e.g., Icelandic), economic success and physical safety are promoted through synergism among fishers. In the Australian case, however, the degree of corporeal cooperation is so extreme that deckhands resemble living prostheses of their skipper, embodying their peripheral socio-productive status. I consider this bond in the context of the Australian ethos of masculinity, in which displays of "individuality" are key. However, for young deckhands, their prosthetic role can compromise their passage into manhood.
Language eng
Field of Research 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, The University of New Mexico
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30007846

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of History, Heritage and Society
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