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When the Body Comes Back to Strengthen Identity and Communities

Dominique Memmi (CSU-CRESPPA - CNRS, France)

Reproductive Governance and Bodily Materiality

ISBN: 978-1-80071-439-7, eISBN: 978-1-80071-438-0

Publication date: 7 April 2022


Height, weight, fingerprints: the body is, as is well known, an important marker of identity. However, since the 1980s and 1990s, it has provided new services to the process of attesting individual identities.

During this period, the development of molecular biology created new means of identification thanks to DNA tests; in addition, certain children (adopted, born of artificial procreation) began to demand to be able to meet their biological parents ‘in the flesh’ to ease their ‘identity’ suffering; Finally, around birth and death, new practices have emerged that aim to reinforce – through breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, haptonomy, the exposure of corpses – the identities of father, mother and child… Are there common points to these different practices? If so, what might their cultural meanings be? And what lessons can we learn from them about the history of the certification of individual identities?

Through these new practices, a great collective narrative – a narrative in practice – is taking shape. It tells of the importance that the body, biology and nature are supposed to play today in fortifying identities and social ties. What emerges behind these new – or renewed – devices and discourses is a whole definition of the subject?



Memmi, D. (2022), "When the Body Comes Back to Strengthen Identity and Communities", Guerzoni, C.S. and Mattalucci, C. (Ed.) Reproductive Governance and Bodily Materiality (Emerald Studies in Reproduction, Culture and Society), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 9-19.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 Dominique Memmi. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited