• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Where are we at with studies of Body & Society? What are the key accomplishments in the field? This book provides the clearest and most comprehensive account of work in this area to date. Featuring a series of studies on sport, transgenderism, migration, illness, survival and belief, it illuminates the relationship between bodily change and action. Chris Shilling's book provides an unrivalled survey of theory and empirical research and explores the hitherto neglected tradition of American 'body studies'. Wide in scope, systematic and incisive the book represents a landmark addition to the field of studies in body and society.'In this new book, Chris Shilling once again seeks to redefine the parameters of the sociology of the body. Drawing on the ideas of pragmatism and the social research of the Chicago school, Shilling analyses many of the contemporary crises and transitions that challenge embodied habit and character, concluding that in many cases embodied individuals find the creative capacity for transcendence of their current social and material contexts. This is essential reading for all those in search of a sophisticated theoretical and methodological basis for the study of embodied action that resists a simplistic 'inverted Cartesianism' - Dr Ian Burkitt, University of Bradford

Introduction
Introduction

Body modification and transformation have exerted a growing fascination in contemporary consumer culture. This is partly because science and technology continue to weaken the boundaries separating flesh and machines and, in so doing, prompt us to revisit and revise our ideas about what it is to be a human being. It is also because the agents of bodily change – from cosmetic surgeons and tattooists, to personal trainers and style consultants – populate the high street and television schedules in ever greater numbers. People have long decorated and moulded their bodies in various ways, but the growth and variety of businesses designed to exploit the malleability of the flesh and its contents have turned bodywork into a hugely profitable industry.

The popularity of this cultural ...

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