Popular interest in body image issues has grown dramatically in recent years, due to an emphasis on individual responsibility and self-determination in contemporary society as well as the seemingly limitless capacities of modern medicine; however body image as a separate field of academic inquiry is still relatively young. The contributors of Body Image and Identity in Contemporary Societies explore the complex social, political and aesthetic interconnections between body image and identity. It is an in-depth study that allows for new perspectives in the analysis of contemporary visual art and literature but also reflects on how these social constructs inform clinical treatment.
Sukhanova and Thomashoff bring together contributions from psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and scholars in the fields of the social sciences and the humanities to explore representations of the body in literature and the arts across different times and cultures. The chapters analyse the social construction of the 'ideal' body in terms of beauty, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class and disability, from a broadly psychoanalytic perspective, and traces the mechanisms which define the role of the physical appearance in the formation of identity and the assumption of social roles.
Body Image and Identity in Contemporary Societies' unique interdisciplinary outlook aims to bridge the current gap between clinical observations and research in semiotic theory. It will be of interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, art therapists, art theorists, academics in the humanities and social sciences, and those interested in an interdisciplinary approach to the issues of body image and identity.
Ekaterina Sukhanova is University Director of Academic Program Review at the City University of New York USA. She serves as Scientific Secretary of the Section for Art and Psychiatry and the Section of Art and Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association. She is also engaged in interdisciplinary research on cultural constructs of mental health and illness and curates exhibits of art brut as a vehicle for fighting stigma.
Hans-Otto Thomashoff was born in Germany and lives in Vienna. He is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, art historian and author of fiction and non-fiction books. He has been curator of several art exhibitions highlighting the connection between the psyche and art as well as president of the section of Art and Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association and advisory committee member of the Sigmund Freud Foundation, Vienna.
"Body Image and Identity in Contemporary Society… draws upon psychoanalysis, as well as the social sciences and humanities… The result is a volume with considerable breadth and a number of thoughtful and thought-provoking contributions… I believe this volume is a worthwhile read for psychologists who would like to be exposed to commentary from, as underscored in the subtitle, 'cultural and aesthetic perspectives.' It might also serve as a set of readings for an advanced seminar" - Gemma Ainslie, private practice, Texas, PsycCritiques
"Body Image and Identity: Psychoanalytic, Social, Cultural and Aesthetic Perspectives is based on the outcomes of a conference hosted by the Sigmund Freud Foundation and the Institut Francais in cooperation with Groupe de Recherches Pandora and CRPMS. Sukhanova and Thomashoff provide a multi-dimensional yet concentrated overview over different aspects of body image from a wide range of disciplines." - Peter Noemaier, Vice-Chairman, Sigmund Freud Foundation, Vienna
"The book has achieved a superb work of synthesis bringing together different fields. There are provoking essays, controversial topics, and new perspectives of the physical body in relation to the political body. One strenght of the book is the rich material that is presented in a relatively small number of pages. Overall, it moves forward the study of the body, presenting short and interesting articles, undergraduate and graduate classes may appreciate many chapters in the book. Body Image and Identity should appeal to anyone who enjoys art, medicine, anthropology, and interdisciplinary studies of the body, and to this end, is a valuable contribution. I am looking forward to a second volume" - Patricia Tovar, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, American Book Review
Thomashoff, Hans-Otto. How the Brain Creates Art and Dreams . Sukhanova, Ekaterina. Norm(s) and Functions in Outside Art. Christaki, Angelique. Body and identity objects of redemption in today’s unrest. Potier, Rémy. Contemporary Body: Medicine to Modern Art. Ebenstein, William. Physical Disability in the collective imagination. Korff -Sausse, Simone. The disabled body in contemporary society. Waintrater, Régine. Body Image and Identity in Victims of Extreme Violence. Brun, Anne. The Body and AIDS Transformed into a Work of Art by Hervé Guibert. Desprats-Péquignot, Catherine The "Composite Body" in Contemporary Art. Schauder, Silke. The Multiple Bodies of Michael Jackson—A Paradigm for Understanding Postmodern Society? Mattos, Renata and Vives, Jean-Michel. From catharsis to the cathartic : towards a post-dramatic theory of representation. Masson, Céline. Modified Images of the Body: New Forms of Identity with a Note on the cadavers of Gunter Von Hagens. Forero Pena, Alcira: Of Beauty and ‘Beauties’: Female Identities and Body Image in Colombia. Wolff Bernstein, Jeanne. Tatoos/Hysteria. Kopytin, Alexander. Body in Art and Art Therapy: Humorous Presentations. Notes on the Contributors. Index .