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War bodies, hedonist bodies: dialectics of the collective and the individual in Israeli society

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Abstract

In this paper I analyze images of the “normal body” in Israel between 1983 and 1993. By correlating body imagery with images of the social order, I argue that this “normal body” reflects a social discourse of growing individualism. During the Gulf War (1991), images of the “normal body” changed to reflect a rising collectivism. I consider this abrupt change in the context of Israel's “interrupted system.” I conclude by offering a panoramic reading of how people narrate their socially informed bodies to suit varying cultural contexts and thus problematize the “individuality” presumed inherent in “normal bodies.”

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