By Elizabeth Hallam
Past the physique provides a brand new and complicated method of loss of life, demise and bereavement, and the sociology of the physique. The authors problem current theories that positioned the physique on the centre of identification. They cross 'beyond the physique' to spotlight the endurance of self-identity even if the physique itself has been disposed of or is lacking. Chapters draw jointly a variety of empirical information, together with cross-cultural case reviews and fieldwork to check either the administration of the corpse and the development of the 'soul' or 'spirit' by means of concentrating on the paintings of: *undertakers *embalmers *coroners *clergy *clairvoyants *exorcists *bereavement counsellors.
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Extra resources for Beyond the Body: Death and Social Identity
Binski also identifies an epistemological shift whereby sensual experience was reorganised, so that the faculty of sight was prioritised as a means of accessing the holy dead. Previously there had been an emphasis on touch as the point of contact between saints relics and those seeking their healing effect. : 78). By the fourteenth century the visualising of Christ’s suffering, dying body was also central to religious experience; for example, images of the crucifixion centre upon Christ’s suffering body as a positive means to salvation.
While the concept of social death highlights an externally imposed exclusion, it does not necessarily illuminate the experience itself, nor the ways in which it may be resisted. Of core interest, therefore, is the tension between the production of self via its exterior bodily form and the experience of the self via embodiment. This chapter asks about the social identities of those who discover themselves in a marginal social position as a result of changes to their bodies which are associated with the approach of death.
Here we argue that analysis of visual representations is crucial if we are to understand how embodiment is shaped. Social and cultural perspectives on the body in death cannot be developed without an account of the significance of representations. Viewing bodies: an historical perspective Responses to images of the dying and dead body can be powerfully ambivalent. At once fascinating and repulsive, such images variously associate the body with notions about the social, the sacred, the political and the erotic, depending upon their positioning within wider image repertoires and historical contexts.