The Body: Social Process and Cultural Theory


Edited by: Mike Featherstone, Mike Hepworth & Bryan S. Turner

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  • Theory, Culture & Society

    Theory, Culture & Society caters for the resurgence of interest in culture within contemporary social science and the humanities. Building on the heritage of classical social theory, the book series examines ways in which this tradition has been reshaped by a new generation of theorists. It will also publish theoretically informed analyses of everyday life, popular culture, and new intellectual movements.

    EDITOR: Mike Featherstone, Teesside Polytechnic


    Roy Boyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic

    Mike Hepworth, University of Aberdeen

    Scott Lash, University of Lancaster

    Roland Robertson, University of Pittsburgh

    Bryan S. Turner, University of Essex

    Also in this series

    Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture

    Revised edition

    Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron

    The Tourist Gaze

    Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies

    John Urry

    Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity

    edited by Bryan S. Turner

    Global Culture

    Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity

    edited by Mike Featherstone

    Consumer Culture and Postmodernism

    Mike Featherstone


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    J. M. Berthelot, Department of Sociology, University of Toulouse le Mirail, Toulouse, France.

    Margareta Bertilsson, Department of Sociology, University of Lund, Box 114, S-22100, Lund, Sweden.

    Roy Boyne, Faculty of Community & Social Studies, Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, Northumberland Building, Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST.

    Aya Crébas, Research Associate, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vakgroep, Sociologie en Geschiedenis, Oude Hoogstraat 24, 1012 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Norbert Elias lived in the Netherlands until his death in 1990.

    Mike Featherstone, Department of Administrative & Social Studies, Teesside Polytechnic, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS1 3BA.

    Arthur W. Frank, Department of Sociology, The University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive, NW Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4.

    Mike Hepworth, Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, Edward Wright Building, Aberdeen AB9 2TY.

    Martin Hewitt, School of Health and Human Sciences, Hatfield Polytechnic, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts ALIO 9AB.

    Scott Lash, Department of Sociology, University of Lancaster, Cartmel College, Bailrigg, Lancaster LAI 4YL.

    Donald N. Levine, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

    Graham McCann, King's College, Cambridge.

    Stephen Mennell, Department of Sociology, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.

    Dick Pels, Sociologisch Institut, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vakgroep, Sociologie en Geschiedenis, Oude Hoogstraat 24, 1012 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Bryan S. Turner, Department of Sociology, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester C04 3SQ.


    The publication of this collection of papers is an indication of the growing interest in the sociology of the body. The majority of the papers were published in Theory, Culture & Society between 1982 and 1990. Three of the papers – those by Bryan Turner 4 Recent Developments in the Theory of the Body’, Arthur W. Frank Tor a Sociology of the Body’ and Donald Levine ‘Martial Arts as a Resource for Liberal Education’ – have not been previously published. The Mask of Ageing’ by Mike Featherstone and Mike Hepworth is an expanded version of ‘Ageing and Old Age’ which was first published in 1989.

    From its very first issue Theory, Culture & Society has been concerned to foster interest in the Sociology of the Body as one of the crucial instances of the complex interrelations of nature, culture and society. It is also important to stress that these chapters provide an excellent illustration of the editorial policy of the journal, namely to encourage a diversity of theoretical perspectives. Here we can refer to the various influences of Foucault, Nietzsche, Elias, Douglas, Horkheimer and Adorno, Mauss, Bourdieu, Baudrillard, Goffman and feminist theorists. These theoretical perspectives are selectively drawn upon to illuminate representations of the body in a (wide) range of contexts which include: the expression of the emotions, romantic love, dietary practices, consumer-culture images of youth, fitness and beauty, martial arts, social welfare, modernism, postmodernism and old age, media images of women, and sexuality. We would not claim that this list is exhaustive; only that it provides some important representations of the contemporary sociological interest in the human body.

    It is our main aim in this book to put these materials in a form which is accessible to the growing number of students and teachers who wish to study the sociology of the human body and it is the hope of the editors that both sociologists and those with broader social science and humanities backgrounds will find this material of relevance and interest.

    In conclusion, the editors are pleased to express their gratitude to all the TCS editorial board members and associates who have helped in numerous ways with this project. We would also like to express our gratitude to Stephen Barr of Sage Publications for his unfailing support and encouragement.

    MikeFeatherstone, MikeHepworth and BryanS. TurnerSkelton

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