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Dismembering the Male

In Dismembering the Male (1996), Joanna Bourke states that the most important thing about the First World War is that the male body was “intended to be mutilated.” What was the purpose of dismemberment? To prove that nations exist.

The photo below suggests that the legs of young men have been consumed by the nation-state. Parts of their bodies had been fed to the body politic. The presence of the nation exists in the absence of body parts.

Limbless British Veterans after the First World War (Roehampton Military Hospital)