Appadurai and yoga through ‘scapes’

I originally did not examine Appadurai for my case study on yoga, but after looking over notes and studying the different ‘scapes’ I realized it would be very useful to use in my paper.  These different scapes are called the “building blocks” of contemporary imagined worlds.  I specifically focused on mediascapes and ethnoscapes.  Mediascapes refers to the electronic capabilities to produce and issue information by newspapers, magazines, and television stations throughout the world, as well as the images created by the media.  As I showed in my presentation, when the Beatles visited India in the 1960s, images and video recordings of the band meeting with Indian gurus exploded and reached the mass audiences in the U.S. and Europe.  Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities such as Madonna started to practice yoga and claimed their desirable bodies were due to the “exercise.” Mediascapes influenced how traditional yoga in India crossed borders and became popular in the U.S; the media’s constitution of yoga led to its portrayal as a desirable health practice.

I also focused on ethnoscapes, which refers to the landscape of people who establish the fluid world we live in, it includes tourists, immigrants, exiles, guest workers, and moving groups and individuals in general. I researched India gurus that immigrated to the U.S. and infamously attended Woodstock in 1969, encouraging the crowd that “the time has come for America to help the whole world with the spirituality.”  In addition to the Indian immigrants coming to the U.S., tourists began to travel to India. Western tourists wanted to experience the “true Indian culture,” where they are bombarded with advertisements for yoga clubs and classes.  Both ethnoscapes and mediascapes influenced the globalization of yoga and how Americans view India.

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