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Title: The orchestrated body : an anthropology of embodiment and experience in brain injured children
Author: Brown, Stephen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis explores issues of embodiment and experiences that serve to orchestrate the lives of brain injured children and their families. In discerning the myriad ramifications that affect childhood disability the body is treated as both a semiological system that presents disability in a conspicuous manner and is the 'object' on which therapeutics (orthodox and alternative) are enacted. It is with reference to the brain injured child's body that explanation concerning personal disability, familial trauma and the hope for future amelioration are discussed. An anthropology, examining embodiment and experience, is initially developed through an analysis of the social construction that led to the development of childhood as an ideological state. The thesis argues that this category of childhood was, in part, constituted by the institutional powers that Foucault (1973) et al saw as the monitoring and control (primarily through the objectifying of the body) of individuals within society. 'The Orchestrated Body' discusses brain injured children's embodiment as an assimilation of divergent social states which describe the child's body with a series of competing notions. For example, the bio-medical approach gives primacy to an organic pathology that resists habitation, the consequence of this 'failure to cure' lends support to the notion that brain injury represents Goffman's (1963) deviance model. The alternative therapy centre is yet another 'orchestration' of the child's body. However, here, the ideology which underpins treatment is in contrast to that advocated by medical professionals. That cultural perceptions are involved in interpreting the behaviours that manifest an altered physical state for brain injured children are analysed with reference to their similarities with possession cults where the body, once again, comes into sharp focus as an aetiological feature of personal chaos. As disrupted motor function acts as a social emblem of disability this thesis asks can such manifestations be reinterpreted to the benefit of the child and his or her family? Finally, brain injured children are posited as self performers being personally responsible for 'orchestrating' themselves in an attempt to experientially extend an incapacitated body with detail and accounts of living from which they are typically excluded.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available