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Title: Contested bodies : corporeal transformations in twentieth century conflict
Author: Callow, Susannah Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 4307
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Research was conducted to increase understandings of the human body and its contributions to material culture and embodied experience, and its position in relation to concepts of ethnicity in twentieth century conflict. A multidisciplinary research framework was created. Adopting a constructivist position, analytical concepts were drawn from archaeology, anthropology, material culture studies and psychology, and theories of embodiment and material culture entanglements in particular directed the approach taken. The interpretive framework was applied to analysis of three studies, to identify and analyse perceptions and behaviours towards the human body and its materiality, the contested emotional and psychological meanings behind those actions and their relationship to specific constructions of ethnicity. The case studies synthesised data from a variety of sources, including documents, oral testimonies and images. Each case study was grounded in a thorough understanding of the cultural, political and historical context to identify the emergence of concepts of ethnicity and the body. The results reveal multiple, complex ways in which the human body - through its appearance, its material and physical presence, and in the form of objects constructed from human remains - has had a crucial influence on the negotiation of concepts of ethnicity in twentieth century conflicts. Across all three case studies, the complex interconnections between bodies and artefacts were shown to be closely intertwined with transformations in concepts of ethnicity, which had crucial significance for self-identity and social conduct. The body both as a living form mutually entangled with material artefacts, and as commoditised fragments of human remains, had active agency in the mediation and evolution of concepts of ethnicity. The concepts of racism, ethnocentrism and dehumanisation were shown to be crucial motivations for particular ideas and practices relating to the human body and to have context-specific cultural and psychological meanings and motivations. The result is an enhanced understanding of involvement of the human body and its complex relationships with material culture in the construction of ethnicity in modern conflict. This may provide new angles for exploration of embodied experiences and the negotiation of identities through materiality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available