Purity, Power and Cruelty

Duschinsky, Robbie (2011) Purity, Power and Cruelty. Critique of Anthropology, 31 (4). pp. 312-328. ISSN 0308-275X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0308275X11420115


One of the most significant theoretical paradigms for understanding themes of purity and impurity available to researchers is that of Mary Douglas. However her account is problematic: it neglects the analysis of power-relations and subjectivity due to its universalizing, structural-functionalist scope. By contrast Primo Levi’s writings offer an example of a particular cultural economy of purity, and shed light on how a contingent form of purity judgement in Fascist ideology refracted into multiple lived discourses. Levi traces changes in purity narratives across different institutional and social contexts, even within the psyche of a single perpetrator or victim. His writings show the pressing need for a new theory of purity and impurity, and offers fundamental insights towards such an account.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: impurity, Primo Levi, order,structural-functionalism
Subjects: L600 Anthropology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2011 10:38
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 22:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1603

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