By Elizabeth Hallam
Past the physique offers a brand new and complicated method of demise, demise and bereavement, and the sociology of the physique. The authors problem present theories that placed the physique on the centre of id. They move 'beyond the physique' to focus on 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 info, together with cross-cultural case reviews and fieldwork to check either the administration of the corpse and the development of the 'soul' or 'spirit' via concentrating on the paintings of: *undertakers *embalmers *coroners *clergy *clairvoyants *exorcists *bereavement counsellors.
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Additional resources for Beyond the Body: Death and Social Identity
Bodily dirt and waste, which has transgressed these boundaries is often imbued with creative or destructive powers. : 120). Her decaying corpse is used to make unguents which her successor employs to control the weather. The corpse is, here, used in a ritual system which defends the social group faced by threats to its well-being. The corpse on one level becomes dirty and polluting as its bodily boundaries are no longer controllable, dissolving in the process of decay. The transgression of bodily boundaries is dangerous as it confuses the inside and the outside of the body.
It is here that images of the dead body become potentially subversive; the corpse becomes the vehicle through which the breaking of taboos and societal constraints is explored. On the other hand, horror films function to reaffirm viewers’ perception of their own bodies as ‘clean’ and ‘whole’. Given that horror films ultimately fail to sustain the identification of the viewer, in that they are recognised as fictions, one of their ideological agendas is to mark the difference between the ‘pure’ body and its ‘abject other’.
Stallybrass and White, drawing on the work of Bakhtin, show how the grotesque body was progressively marginalised by the rise of the classical body (1986). The classical body, represented in Renaissance statues, was a static body with clearly defined boundaries. It was smooth, controlled and elevated on plinths. This model of the controlled, individual body was increasingly favoured by rising middle class groups who defined the grotesque body as offensive to bourgeois sensibilities. The grotesque, a body which embraced death, was therefore defined as contaminating, dirty and threatening.