Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and Contamination by Ben Campkin, Rosie Cox

By Ben Campkin, Rosie Cox

Dirt - and our rituals to remove it - are as a lot part of our daily lives as consuming, respiring and sound asleep. but this actual fact implies that we seldom query what we suggest by means of airborne dirt and dust. What do our attitudes to airborne dirt and dust and cleanliness let us know approximately ourselves and the societies we are living in? This cutting edge paintings exposes the pursuits which underlie daily conceptions of airborne dirt and dust and divulges how our principles approximately it are in detail sure up with problems with race, ethnicity, category, gender, sexuality and the physique. Exploring a large choice of settings - household, city and rural - it finds how attitudes to airborne dirt and dust and cleanliness turn into take place in strangely diversified methods, together with the rituals of demise and burial; architectural layout aesthetics; city infrastructure and regeneration; movie symbolism; and patron attitudes to food.A wealthy and difficult paintings that extends our realizing of the cultural manifestations of dust and cleanliness.

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For example, Dant and Bowles’s21 car repair workers’ outlook – their rational explanation of the dirtiness of car repair work (due to the design of cars) and their pragmatic attitude to cleaning up – is surely best seen as a particularly masculine construction, not necessarily a natural one. Dirt created by or in the process of manly work is perceived to be cleaner than, for instance, bodily fluids, which are associated with the feminine. Moreover, one wonders whether car repair workers insist on maintaining their strikingly pragmatic attitude to cleaning up partly because of the absence of women workers in the body repair shop.

Sam Findley said that their tiled floor was wet cleaned once every three days, indicating that the household had adopted 42 THE VISIBLE AND THE INVISIBLE a temporal routine around floor cleaning in the kitchen. Even so, the exact timing of a cleaning episode was influenced by how it looked. In wet weather, it tended to ‘get a bit muddy and it doesn’t look very nice’ and this would be the stimulus to clean it earlier and hence more frequently than at other times. 19 The Crammonds and Judith Roberts lamented that their kitchen floors had a habit of taking on the appearance of being dirty rather easily.

31 There are real contradictions when disgust-provoking rhetoric creeps into progressive social critique. As Martha Nussbaum argues, the emotiveness of disgust is deployed most often by conservatives, for instance against same-sex civil partnerships, on the grounds that same-sex sexual activity is disgusting and unnatural. 32 The use of graphic imagery of disgusting acts, especially those involving the penetrability and leakiness of the body celebrated by French feminists, is particularly evident in the writings of feminists seeking to make tangible the wrongs of prostitution.

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