• 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


Debates about belief have become extraordinarily important in recent years. These have been pushed to the foreground by the establishment of new, religiously divergent, immigrant communities in the West, and by the global spread of fundamentalist groups whose use of violence is justified in significant part on the basis of their religious affiliation (Juergensmeyer, 2000; Herbert and Wolffe, 2004). Yet ‘belief’ in the West is generally understood in a rather restricted manner as an individual phenomenon consisting of mental or psychological commitments to, and expressions of, core values (Asad, 1993). This characterisation not only obfuscates the great variety of forms belief has taken in the West itself, but misrepresents the very different external and internal environments of religious practice in other regions. It can ...

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