Unrivalled in its clarity and coverage, this sparkling new edition of Chris Shilling's classic text is a masterful account of the emergence and development of body matters in sociology and related disciplines.

A timely, well reasoned response to current concerns and controversies across the globe, it provides chapter-by-chapter coverage of the major theories, approaches and studies conducted in the field. Each chapter has been revised and updated, with new discussions of ‘action network theory’, bodywork, pragmatism, the global resurgence of religious identities, ‘new genetics’, biological citizenship, and figurations of the living and dead.

Packed full of critical analysis and relevant empirical studies the book engages with the major classical and contemporary theories within body studies including the: Naturalistic; Constructionist; Structuralist; Realist; Interactionist; Feminist; Phenomenological

Original, logical and indispensible, this is a must-have title for students and researchers engaged with the study of the body.

The Naturalistic Body

The naturalistic body

The body may have been an absent presence in sociology, but it was central to other traditions of social thought. In this respect, naturalistic views of the body have, since the 18th century, shaped perceptions of the relationship between the body, self-identity and society. Naturalistic views are not identical, but all conceptualize the body as a pre-social, biological basis on which rest the superstructures of self-identity and society: the capabilities and constraints of human bodies define individuals, generating the socio-economic relations that characterize national and international patterns of living. Inequalities in wealth, legal rights, gender and racial relationships are not socially constructed, contingent and reversible, but are given by and can be legitimized with reference to the determining power of ...

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