Anthropology Senior Seminar
February 24, 2005
Assignment: One-page summary of the theory of your research paper. Does it belong to a particular type? Is it informed by particular types? If it cuts across theoretical lines, which theories does it cut across?
My research paper argues that social relationships among the GW riders is mediated through material objects. Furthermore, people identify with their motorcycles, their accessories, and accents. And talk to other people as if they themselves were portrayed in those obbjects. Therefore, it will rely on theories of the self, in particular Erving Goffman’s theories of presentation of the self in public spaces and games (chapter 5 of “Behavior in Public Spaces”, “Some Rules about Objects of Involvement”) looks promising. I just started reading them this week, and will take me a few days to go through his ideas.
I have only a basic familiarity with sociology and do not have enough time to delve into the sociological literature that concerns performance theory.
I may introduce theories used to talk about identity politics and racialized representations, but I am not sure how politically sensitive it is to use theories about underrepresented racial minorities on otherwise mainstream, if small, majority white (to my perception) middle class groups. If I did, however, I would use Suzanne Oboler’s Ethnic Labels, Latino Lives: Identity and the Politics of (Re)Presentation in the United States, Arlene Dávila’s Latinos, Inc: The Marketting and Making of a People, David Roediger’s The Wages of Whiteness, and Manu DiBango’s “The Shortest Way Through”: Strategic Anti-essentialism in Popular Music