This book provides a clear, focused road map to the study of the body in society. It defines, explains and applies core topics relating to the human body demonstrating how we approach it as a social phenomenon.

Each concept: Includes an easy to understand definition; Provides real-world examples; Gives suggestions for further reading; Is carefully cross-referenced to other related concepts

Written to meet the needs of the modern student this book offers the basic materials, tools and guidance needed study and write about the body.


Definition Difference is an extremely broad concept. Difference is tied to the practices of defining and excluding the ‘self’ from the ‘other’, and the ‘other’ from a perceived social ‘norm’. Difference is relational: it frequently implies binary oppositions between the category defined and the (unspoken) category from which differentiation is made. This process is accompanied by value judgement(s) which position the differentiated as the ‘low’ category and the unspoken norm as the ‘high’ category. In relation to the body in society, categories of difference are frequently formed on the basis of bodily characteristics, the most basic of which is the differentiation between male and female.

In social terms, difference is implicated in many (if not all) of the terms covered in other sections in this ...

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