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Culture and Socioeconomic Background: Constructing the Relationship Between the Skin, Touch, and Sexuality

  • Sander L. Gilman

Abstract

The cultural meaning associated with the skin is the result of the skin’s extreme visibility as well as its extreme invisibility. Because it is ubiquitous, covering the entire body, it is both unseen and yet always present. In Western culture, the skin becomes a tabula rasa, a blank slate, onto which is mapped fantasies about the interior of the body that it masks. But this fantasy interior contains both physical and moral spaces. Simultaneously, the skin is also the complex surface membrane on which realities of the function of the body—from the physical signs and symptoms of disease processes as well as dermatological pathologies—manifest themselves. In Western culture, these two aspects are hopelessly intermingled. The skin presents itself as the map of the fantasies about the body as well as the indicator of its realities.

Keywords

Western Culture Socioeconomic Background Body Politic Blank Slate Moral Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1994

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  • Sander L. Gilman

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