Anthropology of Ba
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Do places influence human behavior?
In everyday thinking, spaces and places are generally seen as empty vessels where human activity occurs. Digging a bit deeper, we can distinguish spaces from places: places are spaces that have meanings attached – an empty room becomes a classroom or a bedroom depending on what people do in it. Focusing on the Japanese concept ba – usually translated as ‘place’ – this study recognizes that places imbued with social meaning influence human behavior. Ba takes into account the social context, the norms that dictate behavior, the mood of a place, and the individual’s feelings about it. Conceptualized as ba, places limit and direct what we can do, and in the process, shape who we are. Drawing from a wide array of ethnographic studies, this collection illustrates various ways in which place and human agency co-emerge.
Table of contents
Introduction: An Anthropology of Ba
Part Ⅰ: Co-emergence of Ba and Actor
- Butoh and the Cabaret: How the place of striptease fueled avant-garde performance in Japan
- Space for Competition and Place for Participation: Two Contrasting Sides of a Japanese Folk Song Contest
- Ritual Performance and Agency of Ba: Hierarchy and Mood at Ceremonial Feasts in Pohnpei, Micronesia
Part Ⅱ: Performative Translocality
- Performing Turkish Culture: The Inclusion Drive of the Largest Nomadic Festival in Contemporary Turkey
- Creating Oceania: Place and Ba of the Festival of Pacific Arts
- Performers' Two Bodies/ Double Consciousness: Performers and Traditional Repertoire in Tibetan Refugee Society
- Conflicts Create Ba and Agency: How E.A.B.I.C. Rastafarians Occupy the World
- After Fieldwork: Vestiges in/from a Fieldworker