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Theories Of Embodiment

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an overview of the Japanese discourses of the body leading up to war and during war time, the discursive streams from which writers could draw a stock of images with which to express the experience of defeat and occupation. Body images of the pre-war period often provided the normative background against which they attempted to construct new models of embodiment, new representations of the body and what it could mean under the new epistemic circumstances. In very broad theoretical terms the body is conceptualized in two contrasting ways: as an organic entity with an existence that precedes language and culture what we might call the "somatic" end of the conceptual scale, or as a discursive entity that is primarily a social and cultural construct the "social constructionist" end of the scale. Clearly the body exists and experiences itself in both senses.

Keywords: body images; Japanese discourses; social constructionist



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