Monday, January 19, 2015

What is Andrea Jain reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Andrea Jain, author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture.

Her entry begins:
Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of  Colorblindness (2010)

Today there are over two million incarcerated people in the United States. Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness provides a responsible and necessary assessment of the intersections of the American criminal justice system and racial caste, concluding that the justice system targets black men. She also shows that the criminal justice system in combination with social stigma serve to relegate incarcerated people to the status of second-class citizens and confine them, not only in the prison industrial complex, but also in a marginalized subculture where they are denied access to mainstream society and its economy. Alexander convincingly argues that...[read on]
About Selling Yoga, from the publisher:
Premodern and early modern yoga comprise techniques with a wide range of aims, from turning inward in quest of the true self, to turning outward for divine union, to channeling bodily energy in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Early modern yoga also encompassed countercultural beliefs and practices. In contrast, today, modern yoga aims at the enhancement of the mind-body complex but does so according to contemporary dominant metaphysical, health, and fitness paradigms. Consequently, yoga is now a part of popular culture. In Selling Yoga, Andrea R. Jain explores the popularization of yoga in the context of late-twentieth-century consumer culture. She departs from conventional approaches by undermining essentialist definitions of yoga as well as assumptions that yoga underwent a linear trajectory of increasing popularization. While some studies trivialize popularized yoga systems by reducing them to the mere commodification or corruption of what is perceived as an otherwise fixed, authentic system, Jain suggests that this dichotomy oversimplifies the history of yoga as well as its meanings for contemporary practitioners.

By discussing a wide array of modern yoga types, from Iyengar Yoga to Bikram Yoga, Jain argues that popularized yoga cannot be dismissed--that it has a variety of religious meanings and functions. Yoga brands destabilize the basic utility of yoga commodities and assign to them new meanings that represent the fulfillment of self-developmental needs often deemed sacred in contemporary consumer culture.
Learn more about Selling Yoga at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Selling Yoga.

Writers Read: Andrea Jain.

--Marshal Zeringue