Raqib Annotations

What three (or more) quotes capture the critical import of the text?

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 12:45pm

1) "The portrait of the body conveyed most often and most vividly in the mass media shows it as a defended Nation-state, organised around the hierarchy of gender race and class"

2)"even though the task of finding culprits seems both fruitless and misguided, the implications of the ideas that I discuss in this book to include an emerging sense of an organisation of the world that will benefit only certain people. So, even though no one individual, and no one group, is at fault, it is no less important to identify what the emerging " common sense" is and how we come to think of it as natural and desirable"

3)" the magnitude contemporary shift in body imagery that we have begun to glimpse in the statements reported above might lead us to wonder whether it is happening in connection with some major shift in the social order. Certainly, many political economists are trying to describe a major shift in the process of production that began in the 1970s. This Shift associated with late capitalism and often termed flexible specialization, has been called " the signature of a new economic epoch(Borgmann,1992;75). The "flexibility" in this new shape of the economy refers both to labor and two products: Labour markets became more variable over time as workers move in and out of the workspace more rapidly; the process of labour itself varies too, workers taking on managerial tasks and managers spending time on the Assembly floor, as dictated by changing production conditions. Products also become more flexible: Design process grow more versatile and Technology more able rapidly to adapt to the needs of the production"

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Describe the main literatures that the text draws on and contributes to.

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 7:13am

 The text mainly draws its ideas from the areas of  

1) Sociology of immunity: beyond considering immunity as a concrete scientific 'object', the author explores behind the social conditions which are actually defining what immunity is in different time and spaces

2) Body, flexibility and work: one of the important contribution this book is into the area of flexibility and work. Today’s neoliberal policies are defining the work on the basis of flexibility. It is not the mass production, but what author called as 'tailored product with all its flexibility and specialization in production is defining the work.  For example, Lilly Irani in her book argues that in this neoliberal era, it is not the reserve army of workers who are outside the perimeters of capitalism but those uncertain temporary workers coming and going out due to flexibilization of work is the real victims of it. so the defences of those who work in such unjust environment can be understood from one aspect of how the body is used as a weapon and how biopolitics of the elite is questioned can be better explained by the ideas put forwarded by Emily Martin.


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How will your own research build from, counter and compare with this text?

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 6:55am

"Flexibility allows the managers to meet the needs of the organisation and constantly adjust to global and local demands through coordination and allocation of the organisation's resources"

One of the important ideas in this artefact that helps in my research is the comparative analysis of macro flexible organisations like corporations and their correlation in defining the body politics of the workers and his labour through a similar analogy of the flexible body. The labour process theory by Harry Braverman explains the importance of the body in the realm of skills. The deskilling process and mechanization of the body are two major concepts related to the Marxist idea of alienation and Foucauldian idea of biopolitics. This concepts, in turn, is very much helpful in the context of what Emily Martin argues as a flexible body. one of the important observation made by the author is flexibility is a desirable feature in a post-industrial society, but an imposed ideology of flexibility on the body and its understanding is only profitable for corporations and their creation called flexible specialization of the economy.

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Describe at least three ways that the main argument is supported.

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 6:53am

1) Flexibility - the new world view: by quoting the experts on flexibility, the author explains how flexibility became the new and swiftly spreading set of ideas in every intersection of life.  it is said to be one of the desirable condition  by the current populations and  this is used in academic, educational and other ways of understanding regarding the immune system and other phenomenon’s related  to the 'flexible body'

2) The cultural construction of immunity and body: even the top brass scientists and researchers in the medical field don’t have a concrete answer to what is called an immunity system and how it works. Like social theory, they try to define it from the socio-cultural context and its metaphors for better explanations. For example, the author explains about immunity as ' body at war'. She also argues about how the immune system is defined as the totality of 'immunology on the street, alternative understandings and immune philosophy of scientists and practitioners in the socio-cultural context such as flexible specialization.

3) The important criteria for a better understanding of the main argument by the author are not through formal interviews and mere participant observation. she argues about a way of understanding called visceral learning, which with the combination of conventional ways helps us to understand how flexibility is rooted in day to day life and all aspects of it.by quoting   the author is quoting a scholar called Bloch (1991  " what might be called visceral learning has long been part of field-work in the anthropological sense and is often what sets anthropological work off from that of other disciplines.  Maurice Bloch believes that most of what anthropologists learn is gained precisely through these kinds of non-linguistic, felt experiences, not through the answers to verbal questions but directly to people (Bloch, 1991)


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What is the main argument, narrative and affect of this text?

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 5:41am

"In my mind, this language crashed into contemporary descriptions of the economy of the late 20th century (mentioned in part 2), with a focus on flexible specialization, flexible production, and flexible, rapid response to an ever-changing market with specific, tailor-made products. Was I watching as the images developing in scientist's minds incorporated, within the body, models of a system and how its parts interact that is being given great salience by forces in the society at large? Or was I watching as scientists your life to biological model that went out from science into the society and in turn enlivened our general concepts of what it takes to make a robust organisation? Or were these models arising completely independently of each other?"

The couple of questions the author tries to answer in this book defines her main arguments. The first one is how we perceived the body and what is the 'taken-for- grantedness' in it? The second question is how this perception and 'taken-for-grantedness' about body and immunity is different around 20 to 30 years ago from the present? The third one is regarding the relationship between this ' change in perception of body and the dramatic changes happened in all aspects of life in united states including health care, education and neoliberal policies in political economy.

from her wide ethnographic study specifically focused on health, body and immunity tries to understand this correlation and argues that different time and space along with its socio-cultural imagination defines the 'taken-for grantednes' of body and immunity. The idea of lab space as an ideal condition to understand the body is negated by the author. for example, the author argues that the social conditioning towards national security and defence in the 1970's and1980's in the middle of cold war played a significant role in reimagining the immunity system as military set up and body as a nation state. the end of her argument is today ' human body is again reimagined as a flexible system like that of global flexible and specialized economy, where flexibility is considered as desirable feature liked in every aspect of life.


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