The emotions have traditionally been marginalized in mainstream social theory. This book demonstrates the problems that this has caused and charts the resurgence of emotions in social theory today. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, both classical and contemporary, Simon Williams treats the emotions as a universal feature of human life and our embodied relationship to the world. He reflects and comments upon the turn towards the body and intimacy in social theory, and explains what is important in current thinking about emotions. In his doing so, readers are provided with a critical assessment of various positions within the field, including the strengths and weaknesses of poststructuralism and postmodernism for examinin

Desire, Excess and the Transgression of Corporeal Boundaries

Desire, excess and the transgression of corporeal boundaries

human beings live in, and on, flows. They die when streams dry up. What no longer flows is consigned to death.

(Theweleit 1987/[1977]: 266)

One of the dominant ways in which emotions have been conceptualized and understood within Western culture, as we have seen, is in ‘fluid’ if not ‘volatile’ terms. In this chapter we take a closer look at these issues, and the deeper questions of bodies and desires they raise, through a range of critical or radical perspectives in which corporeal transgression, and literal and metaphoric themes of fluidity and flow, are brought to the fore and championed.1 A thematic line of ‘continuity’ is traced from the ‘open’ orifices and ...

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