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Disgust, Shame, and Trauma: The Visceral and Visual Impact of Touch

  • Stephanie N. Arel
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges book series (PSLRSC)

Abstract

This chapter examines, through the acts and images of Pope Francis touching and kissing those he approaches, the way that physical contact or the perception of it has a positive affective impact on disgust, shame, and trauma. The paper argues that a lived religious practice of touching has both visceral and visual effects. Therefore, even photos of Pope Francis embracing followers, especially those who have been marginalized by society, impel and incite corresponding behavior, regardless of whether or not viewers consider this consciously. Ultimately, the essay shows how both images of the Pope’s actions and the actions themselves offer a counter narrative to shame and trauma that includes being vulnerable, exposed, and open to the other to confront stigma, counter disgust, and ameliorate shame.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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