• 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

Competing
Competing
Introduction

Sport is a highly significant part of contemporary culture, has flourished in benign and virulent political orders (Kruger and Murray, 2003; Rippon, 2006) and provides a good illustration of how the external and internal environments combine to inform particular types of embodied action. Sport, furthermore, requires the existence of a surplus of energy on the part of its participants, is predicated upon the cultivation rather than the denigration of at least a selection of human potentialities and is associated in the public mind with health and fitness. If sports cultivate human potential, however, they have over the centuries been associated with a broad range of social goals and physical locations which develop people's capacities in different directions. ‘Natural sports’ are associated with societal attempts ...

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