Corporeality, Medical Technologies and Contemporary Culture
To Be Published October 30th 2013 by Birkbeck Law Press – 224 pages
Series: Birkbeck Law Press
Corporeality, Medical Technologies and Contemporary Culture engages the confusions and contradictions in current attitudes to, and practices of, the body. On the one hand, the body is where we turn for the certainties of nature; yet, on the other, it is the locus of a desire for permanent transformation and for constant reinvention. The body is at the same time worshipped and despised: so that now it has come to constitute not just an object of desire, but an object of design. Addressing practices of corporeal ascesis – such as bodybuilding and dietetics – medical technologies – such as plastic surgery, prosthetics, and pharmacological interventions – and radical anatomical modifications – such as voluntary amputations, Francisco Ortega analyses how the body has become a screen for the projection of our ideas and imaginings about ourselves; and has also been turned into an object of suspicion, fear, anxiety, insecurity and discomfort. From the disembodied ideal of the digital purity of models – in which every little piece of fat is digitally eliminated – through the disembodiment implicit in social constructivist rejections of materiality, to the various projects of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and posthumanism, Corporeality, Medical Technologies and Contemporary Culture documents the ambiguous legacy of a western theoretical tradition that has always despised the body.
Chapter 1: The Body between Constructivism and Phenomenology Chapter 2: From the Submitted Body to the Submission to the Body Chapter 3: Body Modifications in Contemporary Culture Chapter 4: The Transparent Body: Towards a History of the Medical Visualization of the Body