Institutionalized Violence in the History of Mind/Body Dualism and the Contemporary Reality of Slavery and Torture: Reflections on Elaine Scarry and The Body in Pain
Wendy Lynne Lee argues that the dualistic impulse Bibi Bakare-Yusef identifies in Elaine Scarry’s analysis of the experience of pain has its roots at least as far back as Aristotle’s hylomorphism, and that a clear view of contemporary structural inequality requires a grasp of how “mind” and “body” continue to inform even anti-dualist social theory. Lee argues that insofar as this impulse informs Scarry’s The Body in Pain, it distorts Scarry’s analysis of the experience of pain in ways that elide important aspects of that experience. Understanding the nature of this distortion, however, sheds light on some forms of violence that Scarry doesn’t discuss, namely, the vital role institutionalized violence plays in the maintenance of the social order. Lee’s analysis thus offers insight towards analyses of the experience of pain that avoid the pitfalls of mind/body dualism and make better conceptual and historical sense of institutions like slavery and sex-trafficking.
Lee, Wendy Lynne
"Institutionalized Violence in the History of Mind/Body Dualism and the Contemporary Reality of Slavery and Torture: Reflections on Elaine Scarry and The Body in Pain,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 9, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol9/iss1/3
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