There’s a bunch percolating right now and none of it is really ready to come out in any coherent fashion, but I do want to put out the idea of fear. I’m wondering about the role of fear in the construction of the bodily self – and in particular, of the suffering bodily self. Some patients, through fear, appear to begin to manifest the very physical sufferings they fear. Fear is something that resides not only in the psyche, but something that also has a somatic quality. To what extent might Tissot’s works have created a culture of bodily surveillance? Yes, patients were absolutely not docile. But their bodies become, in the language of medicine, contested spaces wide open to the possibility of contagion…. some writers describe their bodies as battlefields: bodies are attacked by external forces and subject to disarray and confusion.
Hmmm. there is more there. I just haven’t unpacked it yet.