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Control of bodies socialised by religion: socialisation, desocialisation and mystic pathology in England between 16th and 17th centuries


The 150 years that followed Henry VIII's break from Rome can be seen as England's experimentation with social and ideological control through religion. The legal measures imposing an official religion while excluding all others and restrict the expression of spirituality to a single liturgical form shape an original collective experience. Socially, the bodies are controlled by the established Church, politically, the dissenters' bodies are mutilated or annihilated by legal constraint. WHen the dams of episcopal control break up, at the time of the English Revolution, religious expression explodes in the press, but also through the intervention of the believers' bodies in new forms of liturgy, speech and writing. Alternative religious systems attempt to take over social control, while new pioneering and pilgrim religious forms break loose. At the core of this explosion, some women's bodies bring a painful and spectacular contribution to the prophetic atmosphere of the times.

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