Title

The Abject Embodiment of Cancer Patients: Dignity, Selfhood, and the Grotesque Body

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2002

Department

Sociology and Corrections

Abstract

The body is the empirical quintessence of the self. Because selfhood is symbolic, embodiment represents the personification and materialization of otherwise invisible qualities of personhood. The body and experiences of embodiment are central to our sense of being, who we think we are, and what others attribute to us. What happens, then, when one's body is humiliating? How does the self handle the implications of a gruesome body? How do people manage selfhood in light of grotesque physical appearances? This study explores these questions in the experiences of dying cancer patients and seeks to better understand relationships among body, self, and situated social interaction.

Publication Title

Symbolic Interaction

DOI

10.1525/si.2002.25.4.487