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
Chapter 7: Modernity, Self and Embodiment
Modernity, Self and Embodiment
So far in this book I have focused on the issues that the body puts back on to the agenda for the social sciences: the emotions, the place of experience and the very nature of personhood and selfhood. An embodied social theory does not turn its back on rationalism and all the elements of the classical canon, associated as they are with reason and the intellect. In working against dualism, a theory of the body seeks to integrate classicism with what has been associated with romanticism, thought with sensuous embodiment and activity, and rationality with the emotions. What has traditionally been seen as disembodied in the classical perspective is now conceptualized as an aspect of embodiment, understood as ...