A06Curated Bodies

Our research focuses on the bodily inscription of human differentiation in a mass medium – anglophone lifestyle magazines – as a specific layer of cultural meaning.

Magazines in a bookshop. Photo: Dr. Sabina Fazli.

Aesthetic Human Differentiation and Bodily Differentiation in Magazines

Central questions: Magazines form part of a material sign system that curates bodies and lifestyles for their readers and makes them available as resources for their projects of ‘selfing’. We argue that magazines are spaces within society that exhibit human differentiations and provide sites for imagining different lifestyles. In the context of Project Area A, we explore how magazines map and re-map bodies, apply different metrics and proliferating styles, and develop, adapt, modify, and discard categories.

Our strategy: To ask these questions, we consider the magazines as a corpus and architecture that must be analysed as a whole. We understand magazines as an operational space for human differentiations and use this sociological concept to open up the magazine and its specific mediality and aesthetics for American studies and literary studies.

Our contribution to the CRC: Within the interdisciplinary discussion in Project Area A, we complement our colleagues’ sociological and ethnographic perspectives on bodies and performances by introducing processes of categorisation as aesthetic and affective performances.