Embodiment and Identity

handsSeveral of our projects examine the effect that biomedicine and biotechnology have on how societies conceptualize and behave towards various kinds of body, as well as embodied personal and collective identities. Our longstanding work on aspects of disability, for example, considers the lives of people with bodies that are generally considered ‘abnormal’, and how genetic and other technologies interact with those categorizations. Another example of our research in this field looks at forensic and identification technologies applied to dead bodies. This research asks questions such as:

  • What are the social and bioethical consequences of positioning the dead body as a ‘carrier of truth(s)’?
  • How do these technologies change the social meaning of the dead body?

Below is a list of current and past projects on embodiment and identity:

European Forensic Genetics Network of Excellence (2012-2017, FP7 € 6,613,000. Co-ordinator Professor Peter Schneider  Klinikum  der Universität zu Köln, Co-investigator Robin Williams)

Naming the dead: social, ethical, legal and political issues of disaster victim identification by DNA (Workshop December 2012, Brocher Foundation, ca. £25,000 to Jackie Leach Scully, Robin Williams of Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science, and Andreas Kleiser, International Committee for Missing Persons).

Embodied Selves in Transition: Disabled Young Bodies 2011 – 2013, ESRC, £229,000 to PEALS, Principal Investigator Janice McLaughlin, Co-investigators Professor Allan Colver, Institute of Health and Society and Professor Patrick Olivier, School of Computer Sciences

Known soldiers: DNA identification of military remains at Fromelles 2011-2012, Faculty and School Research Funds, £4,300 to PEALS, Principal Investigator Jackie Leach Scully

Does Every Child Matter, Post-Blair? The interconnections of disabled childhoods 2008-2011, ESRC £205,000 [£9,000 to PEALS], Principal Investigator Professor Dan Goodley, Manchester Metropolitan University, Co-investigator Janice McLaughlin

How gay are your genes? 2004-6, Wellcome Trust and Royal Society, £53,150 to PEALS, Principal Investigator Tom Shakespeare

Memory and Forgetting 2002-3, Arts Council and NESTA, £38,000 to PEALS, Principal Investigator Tom Shakespeare

Latest publications in this area include:

Scully JL, Woodward R. Naming the unknown of Fromelles: DNA profiling, ethics and the identification of First World War bodies. Journal of War and Culture Studies 2012. In Press

Scully JL. ‘Choosing disability’, symbolic law, and the media. Medical Law International 2011, 11(3), 197-212.

McLaughlin J, Phillimore P, Richardson D, ed. Contesting Recognition: Culture, Identity and Citizenship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Hagger EL, Woods S, ed. Good Death?: Law and Ethics in Practice. Ashgate, 2011. Submitted