The editors of Body & Society are offering free online access to the most highly-cited papers from the journal until October 31 2011. The abstracts of articles which have a special relevance to work in the Centre for Medical Humanities are included with the links below.

Individuation, Relationality, Affect: Rethinking the Human in Relation to the Living
Couze Venn
Volume 16,  Issue 1, March 2010

Abstract This article searches for a way of theorizing the interconnectedness of processes of individuation, relationality and affect, with the aim of clearing the ground for an approach that establishes the basis of this interconnectedness by reference to mechanisms common to all living things. It establishes a number of shifts that enable us to think the categories and concepts like the individual, the subject, the group, the threshold, relationality, co-implication and so on according to a fundamental decentring, finally breaking with both subject-centredness and its privilege of the individual as model or starting point; the same epistemological shift implies the rejection of the anthropocentric divide between humans and animals, while avoiding species of sociobiologism, pre-formationism, geneticism and other monocausal paradigms. What the new problematic of life enjoins us to rethink are the standpoint of singularity rather than that of the individual, coupled to the standpoint of relationality as a principle enabling us to think the self–other, human–animal, nature–culture and human–world in terms of compossibility and complex becoming. This view about the co-constitution of all life has major implications regarding responsibility for the other and responsibility for the world, grounded in the standpoint of the temporality and historicity of being as existential condition circumscribing the relation to the other. This shift at the level of ontology is explored via an engagement with the work of Simondon and his conceptual apparatus, particularly ideas of psychic and collective individuation, the pre-and transindividual, the associated milieu; this perspective is re-articulated by way of the work of Merleau-Ponty, Haraway’s notion of ‘companion species’, Ettinger’s concept of the ‘I–other plurality’, and cognate concepts that point to a new terrain for theorizing affect.

Resuscitations: Stem cells and the crisis of old age
Melinda Cooper
Volume 12, Issue 1, March 2006

‘Flagging’ the Skin: Corporeal Nationalism and the Properties of Belonging
Emily Grabham
Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2009

Communal Beingness and Affect: An Exploration of Trauma in an Ex-industrial Community
Valerie Walkerdine
Volume 16,  Issue 1, March 2010

Happy re-birthday: Weight loss surgery and the ‘new me’
Karen Throsby
Volume 14, Issue 1, March 2008

ABSTRACT: Weight loss surgery (WLS) is one element of the contemporary ‘war on obesity’. Those who undergo surgery frequently refer to it in terms of their ‘re-birth’. This article considers what is signified by the discourse of re-birth, and asks what material and discursive work is required to support the identity of the post-surgical ‘new me’. The article argues that rather than referring to the visibly transformed body, the discourse of re-birth signals the reconfiguration of the self as a disciplined subject who is able to exercise control and restraint over consumption. This enables those undergoing WLS to position themselves as participants in the ‘war on obesity’, rather than its denigrated objects. However, this identity claim is difficult to claim consistently and requires the acquisition of both familiar and novel disciplinary techniques oriented towards the normalization of the post-WLS body, and which are body enabling and constraining.

Skin and the Self: Cultural Theory and Anglo-American Psychoanalysis
Marc Lafrance
Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2009

Body, Image and Affect in Consumer Culture
Mike Featherstone
Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2010

Psychiatric culture and bodies of resistance
Lisa Blackman
Volume 13, Issue 2, June 2007

ABSTRACT: Psychiatric culture provides an important site for humanities scholars interested in the relationships between body, culture and identity. The problem raised in this article is how to ‘think’ the body as discursive, material and embodied without reinstating the notion that the discursive and material are two separate, pre-existing entities that somehow ‘interact’. The focus of this article will be on the complex relational dynamics that exist between science and culture in the production of psychopathology. The discussion will centre on the practices of a psychiatric user-movement, the Hearing Voices Network, that provide a radical challenge to the alignment of body, culture and identity in the production and understanding of psychopathology, and specifically the phenomenon of voice-hearing. The article will consider the importance of affectivity, relationality and embodiment in understanding the relationship between the performative injunctions of psychiatry, the transformative practices of the HVN and the production of subjectivity.


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