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Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
E-Mail: marja-liisa.honkasalo@helsinki.fi, Telephone: +358-9-191 23915, +358-9-2989516
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Terhi Utriainen, PhD.
DEPARTMENT OF COMPARATIVE RELIGION, POST DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW (ACADEMY OF FINLAND)

E-mail: terhi.utriainen@helsinki.fi
Research interests: Religion, intersubjectivity, gender, embodiment and ethics

Terhi Utriainen

F: The Religious Nude - Metaphors of nakedness and dress as expressions of suffering and identity

This study in comparative religion aims at analysing some central cultural and religious subtexts and imaginary constructions behind both religious and secular everyday expressions of suffering in the contemporary Finnish culture.

The study aims at analysing meanings and cultural backgrounds of such metaphors as ‘nakedness’ and ‘becoming denuded/undressed/dressed’ which are frequently used in everyday language as well as in more poetic or rhetoric discourses to express basic existential situations, such as suffering. The basis of this observation was made in my doctoral theses (Utriainen 1999) where a lot of the caregivers of dying people described the situation of the dying using the metaphors of nakedness and nudity. My hypothesis is that these metaphors refer to the question of identity (as personal continuity and as the state of belonging to a community), and thus reflect Christian anthropological thinking.

Methodologically the study is a study of metaphors. It deals with metaphors of nakedness and dress as metaphors of identity as process. Material for the case studies for analysing the use of the metaphorical pair of nakedness and dress are: 1) selected biblical narratives; 2) Greek orthodox liturgical songs; 3) Finnish Lutheran hymn texts; 3) texts by the caregivers of the dying (reanalysis of some of the material of my doctoral theses) and 4) ethnographical and interview texts derived from the project directed by Marja-Liisa Honkasalo: Expressions of suffering - ethnographies of illness experience in contemporary Finnish contexts - with which my study works in close co-operation. The present work participates also in two other projects: Body and Society in the Biblical World directed by Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro; and Gender, Body and Ethics in Late Christian Culture and Theology, proposed to the Academy of Finland by Elina Vuola.

The philosophical and theoretical frame of the study is provided by phenomenology of the body and its feminist and ethical applications.



Publications: 
Honkasalo M-L & Utriainen T. 1994. "Women writing their death and dying: Semiotic perspectives on women's suicide notes." Semiotica 109-3/4, 195-220.

Utriainen, Terhi 1998. Feminine and masculine in the study of Balto-Finnic dirges; old and new questions." Gender and Folklore. Perspectives on finnish and Karelian Culture. Ed. Satu Apo, Aili Nenola and Laura Stark-Arola. Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki 175-200.

Utriainen, Terhi 1998. "Occupying a Space as Eyes and Body. Comments on the Diversity of Fieldwork, the Postures of Knowledge, and Summer Experiences in an Elderly Women's Village in Olonets Karelia." Gender and Folklore, Perspectives on Finnish and Karelian Culture. Ed. Satu Apo, Aili Nenola and Laura Stark-Arola. Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki, 292-304.

Utriainen, Terhi 1999. Läsnä, riisuttu, puhdas: Uskontoantropologinen tutkimus naisista kuolevan vierellä. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki. (Present, Naked, Pure. Study in anthropology of religion on women by the side of the dying.)

Utriainen, Terhi 2001. "Loppuva ja täyttyvä aika. Kolme kertomusta kuolemisesta." Ajan taju. Kirjoituksia kansanperinteestä ja kirjallisuudesta. Toim. Eeva-Liisa Haanpää et. al. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki, 82-96. (End and fulfillment of time. Three stories about dying.)

Utriainen Terhi, 2002. "Riisuttu, yhteinen liha. Initiaatio, väkivalta ja sukupuolet Hesekielin tarinassa langenneesta Israelista". Itkua ikä kaikki? Kirjoituksia naisesta, vallasta ja väkivallasta. Toim. Satu Apo, Anu Koivunen, Leena-Maija rossi ja Kirsi Saarikangas. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki, 151-163.

Utriainen Terhi, 2002. "In word and deed. Textual analysis and embodied ethnography in the frame of women’s studies." Styles and positions. Ethnographic perspectives in comparative religion. Ed. Tuula Sakaranaho, Tom Sjöblom, Terhi Utriainen and Heikki Pesonen. Department of Religion series, Helsinki University.


OTHER SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITIES IN 2002:

Papers:
- "Riisuutumisen metaforia Raamatun teksteissä".
Kutsumus, ruumis, kokemus. Puheenvuoroja uskonnosta ja sukupuolesta. (Pyydetty esitelmä.) Turun yliopisto, Calonia, 8.-9.3.2002.
- "Naked, Nude and Redressed – metaphors of shame, suffering and identity through biblical texts." Third Nordic Workshop in Medical Anthropology: Expressions of Suffering. University of Joensuu, Mekrijärvi Research Center, March 20-23, 2002.
- "Ahdistus, epäjatkuvuus ja kuolema". Scientific and cultural aspects on anxiety (pyydetty yleisöesitelmä). – Organizers: Helsinki Graduate School in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology and Finnish Graduate School in Neuroscience and Life 2000 Research Program
- "Phenomenology as the preliminary method" – comment to prof. Douglas Allen. Approaches in comparative religion reconsidered... – Helsingin yliopiston uskontotieteen laitoksen ja Suomen uskontotieteellisen seuran symposio. Tieteiden talo 18.-19.11.2002.

International conferences:
- EASR:n (European Association for the Study of Religions) kokous Le Monotheisme: diversite, exclusivisme ou dialogue? Pariisi, Collège de France et Ecole Normale Supérieure. 11-14 Septembre 2002.

Yleisesitelmiä ja koulutustilaisuuksia, esimerkiksi:
- "Suomalainen kuolemanperinne". Suomen hautaustoiminnan liiton vuosikokousesitelmä 12.4.2002. Tiedekeskus Heureka.
- "Kokemus kuolevan vierellä – riisuttua läsnäoloa?" Esitelmä Saattohoito voimavaroja ja jaksamista tukevana työnä. Turun yliopiston täydennyskoulutuskeskus 8.11.2002.




Keywords: religion, gender, metaphors, embodiment, suffering, identity





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Discussion
2004/03/22 RE:The concept of suffering

2004/02/29 RE:The concept of suffering

2004/02/29 The concept of suffering


Copyright © 2002 Mika Lassander
mtl@kaapeli.fi
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