call for contribution: #III. pure danger / dangerous purity


#III. pure danger / dangerous purity


In the anthropological classic Purity and Danger (1966), Mary Douglas refutes the essentialist idea of dirt and pollution. She argues that ”we can recognise in our own notions of dirt that we are using a kind of omnibus compendium which includes all the rejected elements of ordered systems” and concludes that dirt “is a relative idea.” 

She provides us with a number of examples: 

“Shoes are not dirty in themselves, but it is dirty to place them on the dining-table; food is not dirty in itself, but it is dirty to leave cooking utensils in the bedroom, or food bespattered on clothing; similarly, bathroom equipment in the drawing room; clothing lying on chairs; out-door things in-doors; upstairs things downstairs; under-clothing appearing where over-clothing should be, and so on.”

In the third issue of Differens Magazine, we want to build on this idea of dirt and pollution, to delve into the nexus of thoughts surrounding purity and its possible dangers. What could notions of national, religious or material purities entail, given that the impure is something ”out of place”?  How can we understand spatialities, i.e. national territories, the city, urban districts, our home and personal spaces within such an interrogation? 

In this issue, we open up for thinking through connections between classification, health, distinction, community, hygiene, exclusion, virtue, norms, and sanity. How are orders constructed and formulated, in such a way that everything from objects, animals and people to social groups, materials and bacterias is allocated a specific place where they are rendered pure and sanitary? What happens when things leave their designated places? How do we usually cope with anomalies, that is, things in the wrong place? On this question, Mary Douglas stipulates two responses: “Negatively, we can ignore, just not perceive them, or perceiving we can condemn. Positively we can deliberately confront the anomaly and try to create a new pattern of reality in which it has a place.

We welcome writers and artists to join us for this reflection in our forthcoming issue pure danger / dangerous purity!


If you want to contribute to our third issue, pure danger / dangerous purety, send in your:

text, poetry or portfolio

1st of July, at the latest

or a pitch detailing what kind of text you want to write as soon as possible, or

12th of June, at the lastest

to our mail: contribute@differensmagazine.com


The pitch should preferably include answers to the following questions:

  • What is your text about? Please provide us with a summary of the main ideas.
  • What type of text are you writing? Text contributions we welcome are:
    • Historical and philosophical essays
    • General and conceptual analyses
    • Opinion pieces and philosophically argumentative texts
    • Aesthetico-philosophical texts (exploring the theme philosophically by employing aesthetical methodologies or practices)
    • Reflective texts exploring philosophical aspects of everyday life and work (i.e. philosophical texts from a practical point of view, where the theme is explored through experiences of your work environment or personal relationships)
    • Reviews
    • Interviews
  • How long will your text be and in what language would you like to write? (Our editors accept texts in Swedish and English. If your native language is Swedish, German, French, Romanian, Italian, Chinese or any of the Scandinavian languages, and you would like to write a text in English but feel uncomfortable doing so, help can be provided by our editors)
  • Which sources will you be using?
  • How is your text related to the theme and to questions of philosophical or aesthetical nature?

We look forward to reading your contribution!