• 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


Sociology's focus on the corporeal dimensions of social action has proven extraordinarily productive. It has facilitated a new perspective on traditional disciplinary problems and dualisms, has encouraged abstract theories to refocus on the material realities of people's lives and has also provided many of the foundations for the interdisciplinary field of ‘body studies’. The need for the discipline to go beyond bodily behaviour in order to demonstrate the social consequentiality of our physical existence, however, continues to confront analysts with a serious challenge. In seeking to provide a rounded account of the collective phenomenon of society without losing touch with the experiencing and active body-subject, structuralist and action-oriented approaches have struggled. Despite their best attempts, these theories have ended up portraying either the embodied ...

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