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Embodied Signs of Elite Distinction:Franco-Mauritians’ White Skin-Colour in the Face of Change

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

This article examines the symbolic elite distinction of the Franco-Mauritians’ white skin colour, as a contribution to literature on symbols of elite distinction. The case study is set to analyse how Franco-Mauritians’ white skin colour works as a sign of elite distinction in addition to cultural differences between them and other Mauritians - which are influenced by labour division and reinforced by the structure of Mauritian society. The article underlines the intricacy of physical appearance in the transition from the colonial period (ending in 1968) to independence. It also shows how such embodied signs are persistent and ambiguous.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Amsterdam Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185,1012 DK Amsterdam The Netherlands, Email:


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