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07-05-2020 | Theoretical / Philosophical Paper | Issue 4/2020

Human Studies 4/2020

When Body Image Takes over the Body Schema: The Case of Frantz Fanon

Journal:
Human Studies > Issue 4/2020
Authors:
Yochai Ataria, Shogo Tanaka
Important notes
Yochai Ataria and Shogo Tanaka have contributed equally to this work.

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Abstract

Body image (BI) and body schema (BS) refer to two different yet closely related systems. Whereas BI can be defined as a system of perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs pertaining to one's own body, BS is a system of sensory-motor capacities that functions without awareness or the necessity of perceptual monitoring. Studies have demonstrated that applying the concepts of BI and BS enables us to conceptualize complex pathological phenomena such as anorexia, schizophrenia, and depersonalization. Likewise, it has further been argued that these concepts play a crucial role in our ability to grasp our bodily experiences in the socio-cultural world according to various factors, such as gender, social class, and ethnicity. Referring to the insights of Frantz Fanon, the author of Black Skin, White Masks, this paper suggests that under certain conditions the BI can take over and reshape the BS (or the BI is assimilated into the BS). Based on an examination of Fanon’s writings, the paper suggests that not only the BI can truly remold the BS but that the gaze of the other can directly influence the BI.

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