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ERIC Number: EJ892780
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0258-2236
Hair: Markings on the Body and the Logic of Discrimination
Carrim, Nazir
Perspectives in Education, v27 n4 p375-384 Dec 2009
I draw on empirical research conducted among selected Grade 9 learners in schools in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape in regard to their perceptions and experiences on human rights. Throughout, a convergence of these learners' experiences and perceptions occurred in relation to "hair", as the marking on their bodies which was the basis for the discriminations that they experienced in schools. "Hair" marked "black" learners as different from "white" learners. "Hair" was the mark that was used by a gay learner to separate being gay from heterosexual male learners. Hair was what marked working class learners from middle and upper class learners. On the basis of these data, I argue that "hair" is a marking on the body which reinforces the logic and practice of discrimination, and provides them with a bio-physical signifier to justify and naturalize discrimination. In developing this argument I also point to the importance of acknowledging the intersections between different types of discrimination and the importance of acknowledging "difference" within social categories. A "substantive" human rights perspective that incorporates within it the complexity and plurality of identities within an individual human being is argued to be of critical importance.
Perspectives in Education. Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein 9301, South Africa. Fax: +27-51-401-7044; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 9; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa