EIRP Proceedings, Vol 7 (2012)

Body and Dress in the Civilisation of Spectacles

Florica Iuhas


In traditionalist societies, as an individual who was an integral part of the cosmos and the community to which he belonged, man would not view his body as a separate entity, as he would become aware of his physical “rooting” in a limited network of correspondences and meanings. The main characteristic of holistic societies was to “emphasize and use social totality” (Dumont, 1983, p. 263) to the detriment of the individual, whose body did not exist as an element of individuality - as it would be the case later on, in modern societies, where individualism was primary and the body was a personalizing factor. In the post-‘60s era, a new imagery of the body gained momentum, with a noted acceptance of individualism as a social structure and the embrace of a positive (lay) view upon nature. After that decade, “the Western man discovers that he has a body and this novelty follows its own route, whilst eliciting discourses and practices that carry a mass-media aura” (Dumont, 1983, p. 7). With the help of media representations, we will herein oppose two types of bodies and dress, as they are reflected in some ritualistic carnival festivities nowadays: the Carnival of Venice and the one in Rio de Janeiro; on the other hand, we will see to what extent the “play” component of homo ludens has kept its dimension in the current society.


Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.