Sociology consists of a myriad of frequently confusing concepts. Key Concepts in Sociology provides a comprehensive, lively and clearly-written guide to the most important concepts in the subject. It includes both what might be regarded as ‘classic’ sociological concepts, such as ‘class’, ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘community’, as well as subjects that have become increasingly prominent in recent times, such as ‘celebrity’, ‘risk’ and ‘the body’.

Each of the thirty-eight substantive entries: Defines the concept; provides a clear and compelling narrative; clarifies the main debates, perspectives and disagreements; gives advice on further reading

Key Concepts in Sociology should be the first choice for sociology students at all levels of learning.

The Body

The Body
The body

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines the human body in purely physical terms, as the ‘physical or material frame of man’ and the ‘material being of man taken for the whole’. This may explain Giddens' comment:

It would seem as though the body were completely outside the scope of sociology. Our bodies are physiological systems and would therefore appear to be remote from the interests of sociologists. In fact, however, our bodies are strongly conditioned by social influences. (1997b: 47)

Giddens also referred to changing images of the desirable body: where thinness was once seen in many societies to denote a lack of nourishment and poverty, in present-day Western society it is an ideal, particularly for women and girls (1997: 47). A similar point ...

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