Fitness and the changing geographies of sweat in urban Mozambique: an anthropological perspective

Authors: JULIE ARCHAMBAULT*,
Topics: Cultural Geography, Africa
Keywords: geographies of sweat; fitness; class; Mozambique
Session Type: Paper
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The “fitness revolution”, which is making important headway across sub-Saharan Africa, is redefining in interesting ways the relationship between class and perspiration. In Mozambique, where people plan their days in order to sweat as little as possible, and where with age and status usually come opportunities to outsource sweat inducing activities, the rise of the middle class has coincided with an unprecedented fitness boom. And although anthropology has long been interested in the symbolic meaning and social value of bodily substances, little attention has been paid to perspiration. Based on ethnographic research conducted in southern Mozambique, the paper tracks the changing political economy of sweat in Mozambique, from sweat as a by-product of exploitation (colonial, capitalist and domestic), to sweat as a token of the neoliberal self-improving subject, and reflects on the pursuit of wellness in the global African city. ​

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