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Intertwined Identities

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Chapter Summary

The physical boundaries of the human body have historically served as both a theoretical and practical means of distinguishing one person from another, as well as one group of people from another. This chapter argues that the intercorporeal connections that all human beings sustain with one another that are discussed at length by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, are dramatically revealed through the complex ties that bind together conjoined twins. It considers a few specific cases of separation surgeries performed on conjoined twins, in order to reveal how these surgeries indelibly mark not only the bodies of the patients, but also mark a refusal to confront the limits of traditional presuppositions about identity, more specifically, a 'one body, one identity' logic that the very existence of two individuals in a single body calls into question.

Keywords: conjoined twins; intercorporeal connections; separation surgeries



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