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Strategies of Resistance

Body, Identity and Representation in Western Culture


Marzena Kubisz

The book is a part of growing literature on human embodiment and attempts to answer the question of the role of the body in the construction of identity in consumer culture. The book examines two related spheres: the centrality and marginality of cultural practices. The phenomena discussed include cosmetic surgery, Modern Primitivism, photographs by Matuschka and projects by French multimedia artist Orlan. The aim of the book is to postulate that in the present conditions of the fragmentation and disintegration of subjectivity, the body may be employed in a strategy of identification. Practices of body modification, performed both in the centre and in the margins of culture, reveal the ways in which identity is constructed, experienced and negotiated. By presenting the body as a site for the construction of identity, the study adds to the ongoing discussion about the status of individual identity and the identity of western culture.
Contents: The Body in the Centre. Surgical (Re)Constructions of the Body – The Body in the Margins. The Body and Resistance: Reclaiming the Self in Non-Mainstream Body Modifications – Mastectomy: Phenomenology of Absence, or Reclaiming the Self in Contemporary Breast Culture – «Identity-Alterity»: Orlan’s Transient Body – Securing the Self, or Towards an Ontology of the Body.