• 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


Visions of healthy and aesthetically perfect bodies may pervade consumer culture, but the ideal they project is a myth. Sooner or later virtually all of us get sick (defined biomedically as involving a diseased organism) and experience illness (defined sociologically as the subjective encounter with the symptoms and suffering associated with sickness). Health and sickness/illness, indeed, are intimately connected: each is viewed and experienced, at least in part, as the absence of the other. Perhaps this relationality is why Sontag's (1991: 3) suggestion that we all hold dual passports to ‘the kingdom of the well’ and ‘the kingdom of the sick’ resonates so strongly. While the technologically driven, performative culture that dominates work, sport and consumption in the West may be predicated upon healthy, ...

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