Individuality is often interpreted as a force for the separation and autonomy of the individual. This book takes a different approach: it explores the expression of individuality as a form of social action inextricably linked to questions of belonging. Using case studies from North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, the authors examine a wide range of topics. Covering everything from studies of childhood and family relations to patterns of movement for tourism, work, and religious pilgrimage; from the spinning of fashions to the sculpting of life narratives, the contributors analyse the shifting forms of the cultural politics of distinction. The book illustrates the variation and ingenuity with which people in various settings claim diverse forms of individuality, their motivations for doing so, and the outcomes of their actions.
Vered Amit is Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her recent publications include, as co-author with Nigel Rapport, Community, Cosmopolitanism and the Problem of Human Commonality (Pluto, 2012), and as editor Thinking through Sociality: An Anthropological Interrogation of Key Concepts (2015). Noel Dyck is Professor of Social Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is the author or editor of seven previous books.