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 Religion, here, refers to a system of meaning that explains the world in terms of a divine or sacred cosmology. Religions may have one god (monotheism) or many (polytheism, animism). In relation to the body in society, across cultures, religions or sacred systems all have bodily aspects in their symbolic rites and rituals. For example, the wetting of a baby's head in a Baptism or Christening (in Christianity) is a bodily act that symbolically welcomes the infant into that community. Circumcision and/or scarification of boys as they reach puberty in tribal cultures confirms them as full members of their clan and begins the process of passing on sacred knowledge to them.

The person perhaps best known across disciplinary divides for theorizing around religious, or ...

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