The American Body in Context: An Anthology

Overview

The body is a physical entity and a symbolic artifact. It is both created in the world of nature and also physically reconstructed by a culture. The body is both an internal, subjective environment and simultaneously an object for others to observe and evaluate. Bodily practices, woven within a dense web of social relationships, are then both individual and collective- the individual body expresses cultural values, rules, and regulations in the daily routine of living.

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Overview

The body is a physical entity and a symbolic artifact. It is both created in the world of nature and also physically reconstructed by a culture. The body is both an internal, subjective environment and simultaneously an object for others to observe and evaluate. Bodily practices, woven within a dense web of social relationships, are then both individual and collective- the individual body expresses cultural values, rules, and regulations in the daily routine of living.

The American Body in Context: An Anthology is an interdisciplinary investigation of these body relationships, examining the American historical and contemporary constructions of the body. Through readings and exercises, this new book allows readers to explore interrelationships between the individualized and the constructed nature of embodied experiences. This comprehensive text draws together a wide variety of analyses and demonstrates the interdependence between the individual and the structural (re)productions of embodied experiences in the U.S.

This is an excellent text for courses in American studies, American society, cultural and social anthropology, and gender studies.

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What People Are Saying

Eileen Boris
Eileen Boris Professor and Blair Hull Chair of Women's Studies University of California, Santa Barbara
From cinematic cyborgs and material girls to muscle men and aerobicizing women, this well-conceptualized anthology probes the body as a site of discipline, power, and resistance.
John L. Caughey
John L. Caughey, Professor and Chair of American Studies University of Maryland College Park
An exciting exploration of the important and disturbing issues that emerge when the American body is considered in its contemporary cultural and social contexts. A series of mind-bending essays is nicely balanced by Jessica Johnston's intelligent and insightful commentary. I highly recommend this provocative and engaging anthology.
Peter N. Stearns
Peter N. Stearns, Provost George Mason University
The American Body in Context drives home the importance of ideas about the body, in what the body is as well as how it is perceived. This a forceful contribution to contemporary and historical understandings....
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jessica Johnston is a lecturer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand where she teaches courses on contemporary American culture, deviance in America, power and knowledge in corporate America, and issues of identity and qualitative methodologies.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 I. Minds and Bodies Chapter 3 Descartes Goes to Hollywood: Mind, Body and Gender in Contemporary Cyborg Cinema Chapter 4 The Lived Experience of Disability Chapter 5 Souls of Silicon Part 6 II. Social Bodies Chapter 7 The Body in Consumer Culture Chapter 8 The Embodiment of Masculinity: Cultural, Psychological and Behavioral Dimensions Chapter 9 'Material Girl': The Effacements of Postmodern Culture Chapter 10 Michael Jordan's Family Values: Marketing, Meaning, and Post-Reagan America Chapter 11 Concord Watch Advertisement Part 12 III. Disciplined Bodies Chapter 13 On Blowing One's Nose Chapter 14 Medicine as an Institution of Social Control Chapter 15 Put Your Hands in Your Own Laps: Disciplining the Student Body Chapter 16 . The Visible Man: The Execution and Electronic Afterlife of Joseph Paul Jernigan Part 17 IV. Resisting Bodies Chapter 18 Body Narratives, Body Boundaries Chapter 19 Firm But Shapely, Fit But Sexy, Strong But Thin: The Postmodern Aerobicizing Female Bodies Chapter 20 Heavy Judgment: A Sister Talks About the Pain of 'Living Large'

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