A Question of Attitude: Modes of being, perception and practice for security and wellbeing, living post-apartheid Johannesburg 2014

Christie Zaugg, Alison. A Question of Attitude: Modes of being, perception and practice for security and wellbeing, living post-apartheid Johannesburg 2014. 2018, Master Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/65805/

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Attitude is something considered important and discussed by young people in Johannesburg, who believe individuals can change themselves and their world by changing their attitude. I claim that attitude flavours the articulated life of the city, affects actors’ sense of wellbeing and modes of being and practice, and that, as much as official political acts, attitude in small everyday interactions is making the future of the city. I argue that the word attitude may locally signify what Thomas Csordas has suggested would be the moral mode of action, a modality uniquely distributed across actions in all domains (Csordas 2013:535).
The above claims and arguments are expressed through an ethnographic thesis grounded in the data from six weeks participative fieldwork in northwest central Johannesburg.
I explore the data through engaging them with urban, social, intersubjective and sensory theories.
I consider how actors perceive space as safe or risky, and I conceptualise space as articulated by hard edges into entitled and freeforall spaces respectively. In freeforall actors situate themselves socially through adopting one of two mutually exclusive modes, slow and fast practice. By contrast, interacting in entitled spaces, where presence has been objectively or self filtered, actors’ attitude emerges as the practicing mode of social self-situation.
Attitude can be categorised as soft fact, becoming apparent in processes of interaction but extremely difficult to convincingly theorise and reveal. I particularly engage with anthropological sensory paradigms (Csordas 1990, Howes 1991) and consider and contrast these for their helpfulness in validating my data.
Advisors:Förster, Till
Committee Members:Kesselring, Rita
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Ethnologie > Visuelle und politische Ethnologie (Förster)
UniBasel Contributors:Förster, Till and Kesselring, Rita
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Master Thesis
Thesis status:Complete
Last Modified:20 Oct 2018 04:30
Deposited On:19 Oct 2018 13:40

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