Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self

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SAGE, Nov 1, 2001 - Social Science - 154 pages
Written by one of the most distinguished commentators in the field, this book asks why we see some bodies as 'monstrous' or 'vulnerable' and examines what this tells us about ideas of bodily 'normality' and bodily perfection.

Drawing on feminist theories of the body, biomedical discourse and historical data, Margrit Shildrick argues that the response to the monstrous body has always been ambivalent. In trying to organize it out of the discourses of normality, we point to the impossibility of realizing a fully developed, invulnerable self. She calls upon us to rethink the monstrous, not as an abnormal category, but as a condition of attractivenes, and demonstrates how this involves an exploration of relationships between bodies and embodied selves, and a revising of the phenomenology of the body.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter 1 Monsters Marvels and Meanings
9
Chapter 2 Monstering the Mother
28
Chapter 3 The Selfs Clean and Proper Body
48
Chapter 4 Contagious Encounters and the Ethics of Risk
68
Chapter 5 Levinas and Vulnerable Becoming
87
Chapter 6 The Relational Economy of Touch
103
Chapter 7 Welcoming the Monstrous Arrivant
120
Notes
134
Bibliography
142
Index
149
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

My long term research interests have focused on the body and particularly on the notion of the anomalous body, whether that relates to sex and gender, to disability, to ageing, or to cyborgs. At present I am working on an international project exploring the phenomenology of heart transplant recipients. My approach has always been broadly postmodernist - or at least poststructuralist - and strongly influenced by the ongoing development of feminist theory and of postconventional bioethics. For many years I have done collaborative work on disability, and the area of Critical Disability Studies has more recently become a sharper focus of research. I have recently finished a new book (Dangerous Discourses) which brings together many of my existing interests as well as extending them into legal theory, queer theory and even psychoanalysis. I hope that any students (or intending students) pursuing dissertations or theses in any of those fields will get in contact.

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