9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS07 Memory, Culture and Public Discourse

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Theoretical Innovations about Collective Memory II Building I, 1E7

Bringing Home the Dead: Bodies Politic in the New Global (Dis)Order

Debates about embodiment and identity conventionally focus on the living, individual body, but recent work of philosophy (Butler, Rose) has drawn attention to the function of mourning in the formation of collective imaginaries, which imbue the body of the dead with cultural significance. The bodies of the war dead in particular (like those of martyrs, with whom they share the attribute of sacrifice) stand in for the body politic in the formation and maintenance of national imaginaries.
Informed by these philosophical insights, this paper will undertake a comparative study of the very different public receptions of the Iraq war dead in the UK and the USA, using documentation from the public sphere, to produce insights into current conditions of collective identity formation in these national cultural contexts.