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What Can a Body Do?

Everyone has one. Some people like theirs, but many don't. They have a definite use-by-date, and once they're expired, that's it. What is it about the body that makes it a source of anxiety and pleasure, pain and life? If we all basically have the same body components, how are bodies marked so as to make us different, excluded, accepted, liked, or reviled? Is the body a biological fact of life or the most basic element in all forms of sociality? These are some of the questions that might interest a sociology of the body.

For all its evident appeal, as an object of social science research, the body has only relatively recently emerged as discrete site of study. This is not ...

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