Beyond the Body presents a new and sophisticated approach to death, dying and bereavement, and the sociology of the body. The authors challenge existing theories that put the body at the centre of identity. They go 'beyond the body' to highlight the persistence of self-identity even when the body itself has been disposed of or is missing.
Chapters draw together a wide range of empirical data, including cross-cultural case studies and fieldwork to examine both the management of the corpse and the construction of the 'soul' or 'spirit' by focusing on the work of:
""In "Beyond the Body: Death and Social Identity, [the authors] explore social practices surrounding death in order to critique social theories of the embodied self. . .one of the accomplishments of this unusual yet oddly muted book is its retrieval of marginal embodiments as analytically interesting. . . that the capacity to summon the dead might be salutary rather than morbid is a fresh insight on what it is to sustain a robust social life." --Katherine Young, American Journal of Sociology, July 2000."
"What the book examines, persistently, curiously, intriguingly, are materializations of the other elsewhere as traces, hauntings, , felt presences, and apparitions that blur the boundary between self and other as well as between death and life.."
-American Journal of Sociology