Introduction / Introduzione

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Introduction

Claudio Bernardi, Giuseppe Fornari, David Le Breton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


[Autom. eng. transl.] Exposing a body is the act and the effect of presenting, putting on display or more generally putting out someone in order to know him, recognize him, judge him, admire him, but it is also the act or condition of exposing someone to the action of other people or climate and environmental agents. In both cases, physical exposure can be advantageous or risky. The most dangerous condition of exposed bodies is that of those who are left to themselves and find themselves helpless and helpless, at the mercy of catastrophic natural events or offensive and aggressive actions or in extremely harsh environmental and social situations. The worst condition is the sacrificial exposition of those who, alive or dead, are put on display and given to the public for moral condemnation, ridicule, pillory, warning, revenge, voyeurism, capital justice. The advent of the image and entertainment society and then social media led to the maximum exposure of bodies, induced by the bulimic desire to see and be seen. The media celebration of the human body seems to be polarized today on two models, that of the "technological body" or "machine body", the subject of experimentation and virtualization, and that of the "desire body", tonic, beautiful, trained, advertised as a satisfaction shrine private and erotic and aesthetic self-exaltation. In the first case, due to its limitations and fragility, the body is a cursed part of man, so science and technology do their best to find solutions to the perishability of the body by reshaping, enhancing or replacing parts. In the second case, the idolatry of the body passes through the obsessive care of the line, the shape, the well-being and the concern to stay and appear young. In both cases the body functions as an alter ego. The individual perceives his body as different from him. The new version of the soul / body dualism is today an individual / body. The body, however, replacing the soul, invisible, spiritual, perfect, immaterial, immortal, arrives at the same claims of perfection. However, being visible, the perfect body must be embodied in models subjected to divinization processes through idealized images or representations or stars of the show. In both models the alienation of the body is subject to the law of mimetic desire. Which body model, in fact, do we try to conform our body to? Who are the models or mediators of the desired body? But if these models are images of spectacular and ideal bodies, bodies that are continually replaced and retouched, the frustration of people can only be permanent ... In the contemporary anthropological context of dualism between body / mind exasperated by the high exposure of all to desire mimetic of a divine body and a plastic, manipulable, replaceable, interchangeable body, the theater and the performing arts play a double role of criticism and care. Since the dawn, in fact, the theater has developed a critical wisdom of representations and tragic effects of mimetic desire. As the art of bodies, the theater increasingly develops, alongside the cognitive catharsis of the "bad representations" of the community, the "physical" and relational care of people, groups, communities, and the social body, transforming viewers into actors of their own experiences, working with bodies, on bodies and for the real bodies of people searching not for the narcissistic staging of oneself, but for the irreducible incarnation of oneself as an openness to others and to others.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Introduction
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)161-200
Number of pages40
JournalComunicazioni Sociali
VolumeXXXVIII n.s.
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • bodies
  • corpi
  • performativity
  • performatività
  • teatro
  • theatre


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