Body Shock

The Political Aesthetics of Death

in Social Analysis
Author: Uli Linke 1
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  • 1 Rochester Institute of Technology uhlgss@gmail.com
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In a global media market, images of war and victimhood are trafficked as master tropes of trauma situations with immense emotional appeal. Concurrent with this transformation of historical atrocities into consumable commodities, new forms of spectatorship—focused on bodies, medicine, and death—are being produced by the entertainment industry. The article examines this fascination with corpses by focusing on Body Worlds, a traveling anatomical exhibit that was initially launched in Germany. I interrogate the means by which dissected corpses are presented as popular entertainment in a post-Holocaust society and seek to explain the installation's global appeal. My research reveals that the collusion between the state and private enterprise not only endorses the global traffic in corpses but also enables the public spectacle of anatomical human bodies by negating subjectivity, violence, and history.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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