This book explores the ways in which the body is sacred in Western medicine, as well as how this idea is played out in questions of life and death, of the autopsy and of the meanings attributed to illnesses and disease. Ritual and religious modifications to, and limitations on what may be done to the body raise cross cultural issues of great complexity – philosophically and theologically, as well as sociologically - within medicine and for health care practitioners, but also, as a matter of primary concern for the patient. The book explores the ways in which medicine organises the moral and the immoral, the sacred and the profane; how it mediates cultural concepts of the sacred – of the body, of blood and of life and death.
Dr. Elizabeth Burns Coleman is Lecturer in English, Communications and Performance Studies at Monash University. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Monash University and the ANU's Centre for Cross Cultural Research. She is author of Aboriginal Art, Identity and Appropriation (2005), and co-editor of Negotiating the Sacred: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in a Multicultural Society (2006) and Negotiating the Sacred II: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in the Arts (2008).
Dr Kevin White is Reader in the School of Social Sciences at The Australian National University. He has held appointments at Flinders University, Wollongong University, and the Victoria University of Wellington. His most recent publications include The Sage Dictionary of Health and Society (2006), (with Frank Lewins and Alastair Greig) and Inequality in Australia (2004) . He is coeditor of Negotiating the Sacred: Balsphemy and Sacrilege in a Multicultural Society (2006).
Contributers include: Peter Arnds, Ruth Barcan,Christopher E. Forth, Peter Friedlander, Philomena Horsley, William Hoverd, Jay Johnston, Roxanne Marcotte,
Brain McCoy, Roy O'Neill, Jeremy Shearmur, Therese Taylor,and Bryan S. Turner.
All those interested in the relationships of medicine, religion and the body, whether as anthropologists, sociologists, philosphers or theologians.