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 Identity is the sense of ‘self’ or personhood that is constructed within a social complex. It may be perceived solely in terms of the individual, it may be perceived in terms of group – or other – relations, but it is inevitably caught up in the interplay of our own and others' perceptions of the self. In this, identity and the body are inextricably linked.

There are a variety of ways of understanding identity. From a psychological standpoint, identity is generally conceived as an internal intellectual process linked to stages of development and how we form knowledge about ourselves and the world (see the discussion of Freud under Psychoanalysis). This is, generally, explained in terms of our earliest interpersonal relationships (mother, father, siblings) which ...

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