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The Sociology of the Body

The Sociology of the Body
Mapping the Abstraction of Embodiment

Other Titles in:
Sociology of the Body

March 2006 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Through a provocative analysis, this book contextualizes, explicates and critically analyses the work of those key theorists and texts that have been most influential in refocusing our gaze on human embodiment. Upon this foundation, the author builds her own distinctive theoretical framework towards the analysis of embodiment. This is a valuable addition to the field of body studies."
- Chris Shilling, University of Kent

Over the last 20 years, the social sciences have witnessed a remarkable inter-disciplinary surge of interest in the body. The latter is now recognized as a core concept and is the subject of intensive study at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. But how can we map this work? What are the contributions and differences of the various approaches? This lucid and authoritative text:
  • Provides a critical evaluation of the work of Elias, Aries, Foucault, Bourdieu, Mary Douglas, Kristeva, Butler, Haraway and Bordo.
  • Guides the reader through the inter-disciplinary influence of these ideas.
  • Gives a clear and compelling analysis of the significance of the 'turn' towards the body.
  • Explains the complex way in which embodiment is formed across different social formations.

Clearly organized and powerfully expressed the book provides the best available guide to the 'turn to the body' in the social sciences.

'Manners Maketh the Man'
Social Norms and Customary Control

Regimes and Institutions
Authority and Delimited Control

Place and Space
Habitus and Social Control

Blood, Bile and Phlegm
Ritual Bodies and Boundaries that Blur

Mind over Matter
Psychoanalysis and `Putting On' the Body

Remodelling and Redefining Boundaries

The Social Subject
Life-Experiences, Lifestyles and Life-Stages


Interesting text with chapters on: Space and Place: Habitus and Social Control. The Bounded body and Psychoanalysis.

Dr Bethany Simmonds
Social, Historical & Literary Studies, Portsmouth University
August 22, 2016

Useful text and very well organised, a great introduction for undergraduate level.

Miss Amy Clark
Sport Science, Tourism & Leisure Dept, Canterbury Christ Church University
December 12, 2014

I have adopted this text as recommended reading for my students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Theoretical ideas are accessible and carefully presented - a great addition to the literature in this area.

Miss Jessica Clark
School of Applied Social Science, University Campus Suffolk
October 6, 2011

This is a very useful introductory text that will help students understand a range of theoretical approaches to the body. It is compact and clearly written. I would have liked it to flag up more directly which theorists were being addressed in each chapter - names and approaches are embedded in introductory sections, whereas more explicit chapter titles and sub-headings indicating topics would be very useful for readers, especially students.

Dr Sarah Graham
School of English, University of Leicester
November 16, 2009

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