AIN'T I A YOGI?: A CRITICAL EXPLORATION OF SYMBOLIC AND SOCIAL BOUNDARIES IN THE YOGA WORLD
1 online resource (86 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Recent sociological research considers the relationship between social and symbolic boundaries in a variety of social contexts. In this study, I build on such research by exploring how such boundaries are reproduced and potentially bridged in ostensibly inclusive spaces. To do so, I explore how Black yoginis, or female yoga practitioners, experience, interpret and navigate social and symbolic boundaries as well as the mechanisms that (re)produce or bridge them. Data collection consists of a brief survey, participant observation in yoga studios and schools, and semi-structured interviews with experienced practitioners. Data were analyzed thematically following an inductive approach, employing quasi-grounded theory methods. Findings suggest yoga world boundaries are created and reproduced through conventions of religion, assumptions of authenticity via consumerism and traditional media, and aesthetic values related to racial marking and size. Bridging occurs through social media, adaptable hooks, strategic selection, organizational diversity, and the role of instructors. I extend the boundaries literature by identifying several boundary bridging mechanisms in the yoga world that may be relevant to other social settings. This study is significant because it broadens scholarly understanding of boundary processes as they are experienced, interpreted, and navigated by Black women in yoga worlds, a collectively devalued status group in American society that may also shed light on patterns of exclusion and inclusion among marginalized groups in other contexts.
AUTHENTICITYBLACK WOMENCULTURERACIALIZATIONSOCIAL & SYMBOLIC BOUNDARIESYOGA
Jason, KendraZhao, Wei
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2018.
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