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Issue 25.1, February 2010


Essay Excerpt -

It is no accident that the liberalizing consumerist project, which depends on highly corporeal forms of publicity, has only accelerated the erasure of Gandhi’s body. The activist asceticism of his somatic politics interferes with his iconic serenity (and convenient passivity) as pater patrias in an age of consumerism and identitarian assertion. It is not Gandhi’s supposed other-worldliness that renders his activation in commercial publicity problematic. Instead, if we revisit the relation between Gandhi’s asceticism and his understanding of mass publicity, we will find something that is all too often forgotten today: namely, that Gandhian body politics were not so much a technology of world-denying renunciation as the worldly condition of his communicative efficacy.

-- William Mazzarella, “Branding the Mahatma”