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.
Chapter 4: The Socially Constructed Body
The Socially Constructed Body
Naturalistic approaches still influence popular views of the body, but sociologists have been more attracted to analyses that view corporeality as a receptor, rather than a generator, of social forces and cultural meanings. In this respect, social constructionism is an umbrella term for those views that suggest the body is shaped, constrained, and even invented by society. Social constructionists oppose naturalistic notions of the biological body, arguing that the meanings attributed to bodies are social products, but vary in their analyses of the body/society relationship. Post-structuralists often argue that linguistic categories determine our bodily knowledge and experience, for example, while symbolic interactionists suggest that relatively autonomous human agents manage their own bodies on the basis of shared cultural ...