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Bodily Interventions and Intimate LabourUnderstanding Bioprecarity$
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Gabriele Griffin and Doris Leibetseder

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526138569

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526138576

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‘My Body, My Self’

‘My Body, My Self’

Indigeneity, bioprecarity and the construction of the embodied self–an artist’s view

(p.209) 11 ‘My Body, My Self’
Bodily Interventions and Intimate Labour

Katarina Pirak Sikku

Gabriele Griffin

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores bioprecarity and racifying science in the context of eugenicist practices in Sweden in the early to mid-20th century related to the indigenous Samis’ treatment by Swedish race biologists. It does so through a dialogue between an academic and a Sami artist and her body-centred art work, in this case photographs. Sámis, like many indigenous people or people who at different points in history and across diverse countries/cultures, have been deemed inferior, have been subjected to racist scientific research, such as the measuring of their bodies for eugenicist purposes and the taking of naked pictures of even small school children. Here the body becomes an object of the colonizing gaze. That gaze produces bioprecarity through not only refusing the bodily integrity, autonomy and agency of those who are thus objectified, but also through gesturing towards the notion that some bodies occupy different orders from others. The artist’s work was concerned with re-appropriating the body of those rendered precarious by eugenicist biopolitics.

Keywords:   eugenicist practices, race biology, Sami, Sameblod, Katarina Pirak Sikku, re-appropriating the body, decolonizing

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