Embodying Gender provides students and academics with a critical overview of body concepts in both sociology and in feminism. Previously, sociologists have attempted to gender the body and feminists have attempted to embody gender but Alexandra Howson's accessible new text draws these two literatures together, pointing to ways of integrating feminist perspectives on the body into sociological theory.Surveying all the key concepts in the field, this book introduces us to an extensive range of 'narratives of embodiment' and presents a full analysis of the most important texts in new feminist theories of the body.Key questions covered include: o What can sociology say about the body?o What impact has the body made on sociology?o What conceptual frameworks are used to address the body? How do these relate to issues of gender and embodied experience?o How do feminist conceptual tools sit within sociological analysis?Written in a clear, accessible style, Embodying Gender is an invaluable text for undergraduate students, postgraduates and academics in the fields of women's and gender studies and sociology, and is particularly relevant to those specialising in sociology of the body, feminist theory and social theory.
Chapter 2: Academic Feminism and the Corporeal Turn
Academic Feminism and the Corporeal Turn
In contrast to the body's absent presence within sociological/social theory, female embodiment and the bodies of women have occupied both a more implicit and explicit presence within feminism. Indeed, for some feminists: ‘all feminist thinking might be described as an engagement of one sort or another, with what it means to be, and to be perceived to be, a female body’ (Brook, 1999: 2).
Given liberal feminism's dominance in the politics of early second-wave feminism and the ‘somatophobia’ and disavowal of the body embedded within it (Spelman, 1998), this may seem an astounding claim. Second-wave feminist engagement with the female body has undoubtedly been shaped by the legacy of Cartesian dualism in which the material ...