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Between Pierre Nora’s lieux de mémoire and Paul Ricoeur’s body-object there appears to be a relation of community and personal memory. Before death, the human body holds three meanings: material, symbolic, and functional, but post-mortem the body also becomes a place where both community and individual can update their relationship with death and mortality. In the twenty-first century, secularization of death practices inevitably leads to a secular view of the body. In Cailin Doughty’s nonfiction, the body seems to stand at the crossroad between spirituality and secularization, so between the meaning of the body and the body as a lieu. This paper will discuss how Nora’s and Ricoeur’s interpretations of memory and body apply to Doughty’s representation of the dead body within a death denying twenty-first century Western society.
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