By Elizabeth Hallam
Past the physique provides a brand new and complicated method of loss of life, loss of life and bereavement, and the sociology of the physique. The authors problem latest theories that positioned the physique on the centre of id. They move '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 quite a lot of empirical facts, together with cross-cultural case stories and fieldwork to check either the administration of the corpse and the development of the 'soul' or 'spirit' by means of targeting 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
The metaphorical potential of the body and, in particular the damaged or fragmented body, has been exploited in a variety of ways through the production and dissemination of visual representations. These images have been used to articulate social and cultural connections which reinforce a sense of continuity of self within wider social and been used, depending on historical context, to either reinforce a moral orders. On the other hand, they have also been used to articulate disconnection and political opposition to particular regimes and institutions.
Lincoln draws out the social and symbolic significance of these spectacles in terms of the political construction of social groups. He interprets this ritual use of the dead and decaying bodies as an attempt to constitute a different social identity in opposition to the existing social order. This was achieved symbolically through the defilement of sacred space. Lincoln notes that, in an attempt to expose what they saw as the corruption of the Church, the protesters used a form of symbolic discourse rich in connotations of decay.
Social death is therefore an imposed condition. It may be imposed to the extent that the individual experiences a strong sense of alienation or marginalisation. Or it may be felt but resisted by individuals for whom embodied life as a social being remains vital if demanding. The metaphor of a mask to connote the ageing body does, however, testify strongly to the experience of a tension between the self and the body at the point at which the body is no longer experienced as an authentic representation of the self.
Beyond the Body: Death and Social Identity by Elizabeth Hallam