Images of Ecstasy and Affliction. The Camera as Instrument for Researching and Reproducing Choreographies of Deviance in a Southern Italian Spider Possession Cult

Schäuble, Michaela (2016). Images of Ecstasy and Affliction. The Camera as Instrument for Researching and Reproducing Choreographies of Deviance in a Southern Italian Spider Possession Cult. AnthroVision - Vaneasa Online Journal, 4(4.2) VANEASA 10.4000/anthrovision.2409

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This article analyzes the production of visual stereotypes of so-called “imaginary afflictions” (Hufeland 1794), defined as disorders that have no physical cause but are triggered by – and potentially cured through – imagination. Drawing on the well-known example of ‘the hysteric’ as paradigmatic trope in medical photography of the 19th and early 20th century, I detect and trace iconographies that are based on the assumption that mental states (and deviance) are revealed through the corporeal language of gesture and movement, and correlate them with (reenacted) ethnographic photographs and filmic depictions of ‘possessed’ women in mid-20th century Southern Italy. In each case, the camera is used as an instrument for researching and visualizing ‘expressions of the passions’, thereby reproducing highly sexualized images of “imaginary afflictions” as expressive correlates of mental states.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Schäuble, Michaela

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

2198-6754

Publisher:

VANEASA

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lisa Lüscher

Date Deposited:

08 Aug 2017 16:41

Last Modified:

25 Feb 2019 12:02

Publisher DOI:

10.4000/anthrovision.2409

Additional Information:

Special Issue on "Imagination/Ineffability"

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.97360

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/97360

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