This book explores both the embodied nature of social life and the social nature of human bodily life. It provides an accessible review of the contemporary social science debates on the body, and develops a coherent new perspective. Nick Crossley critically reviews the literature on mind and body, and also on the body and society. He draws on theoretical insights from the work of Gilbert Ryle, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead and Pierre Bourdieu, and shows how the work of these writers overlaps in interesting and important ways which, when combined, provide the basis for a persuasive and robust account of human embodiment. The Social Body provides a timely review of the theoretical approach


‘The body’ has been a major issue within sociology over the last 15 years; longer if we look beyond such seminal texts as Bryan Turner's (1984) Body and Society to the sources and debates which he and other early pioneers picked up upon. During this time a great range of studies have been conducted and a similarly large range of issues tackled. In spite of all this work and the many fascinating insights generated by it, however, certain stubborn problems remain. In particular it is my view that sociology, having raised the issue of mind–body dualism, has not found a satisfactory solution to that philosophical puzzle. Indeed, I believe that we remain unclear even on its nature. This is not an isolated problem, however. ...

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