• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In this incisive and truly impressive book, Ian Burkitt critically addresses the dualism between mind and body, thought and emotion, rationality and irrationality, and the mental and the material, which haunt the post-Cartesian world. Drawing on the work of contemporary social theorists and feminist writers, he argues that thought and the sense of being a person is inseparable from bodily practices within social relations, even though such active experience may be abstracted and expanded upon through the use of symbols. Overcoming classic dualisms in social thought, Burkitt argues that bodies are not purely the constructs of discourses of power: they are also productive, communicative, and invested with powerful capacities for chang

The Body as Object: From the Grotesque to the Closed Body
The body as object: From the grotesque to the closed body

If the human body has been re-formed through bio-history in relations of transformation, communication and power, these relations have also had a more recent and dramatic effect upon the body and the way in which people in the Western world have experienced their embodied selves. As I claimed in the Introduction, since the seventeenth century Westerners have begun to feel that they are living a dual existence, divided between the life of the mind and that of the body. The experience of the self has essentially been disembodied and the body cast into a shadowy and troublesome existence. For Descartes, the body was nothing ...

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