Changing Bodies: Habit, Crisis and Creativity

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Where are we at with studies of Body & Society? What are the key accomplishments in the field? This book provides the clearest and most comprehensive account of work in this area to date.

Featuring a series of studies on sport, transgenderism, migration, illness, survival and belief, it illuminates the relationship between bodily change and action. Chris Shilling's book provides an unrivalled survey of theory and empirical research and explores the hitherto neglected tradition of American 'body studies'.

Wide in scope, systematic and incisive the book represents a landmark addition to the field of studies in body and society.

'In this new book, Chris Shilling once again seeks to redefine the parameters of the sociology of the body. Drawing on the ideas of pragmatism and the social research of the Chicago school, Shilling analyses many of the contemporary crises and transitions that challenge embodied habit and character, concluding that in many cases embodied individuals find the creative capacity for transcendence of their current social and material contexts. This is essential reading for all those in search of a sophisticated theoretical and methodological basis for the study of embodied action that resists a simplistic 'inverted Cartesianism' - Dr Ian Burkitt, University of Bradford

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[Changing Bodies] confirms [Shilling's] status as one of the most innovative and important figures in the study of the body in society in contemporary sociology. For anyone seeking to understand the significance of 'the body' in contemporary culture and how it is both encrypted by and encrypts culture, this book is an essential read... [I]t will help guide scholarship and research agendas for many years to come
Sport, Education and Society

Chris Shilling's exciting new work revisits pragmatism to provide an innovative and compelling theoretical orientation for body studies. At a time when sociology of the body has been fragmenting into niche studies of distinctive bodies, Shilling offers a unifying framework that never sacrifices particularity. Changing Bodies should become a core text for all social science studies of the body
Professor Arthur W. Frank
Department of Sociology, University of Calgary

In this new book, Chris Shilling once again seeks to redefine the parameters of the sociology of the body. This is essential reading for all those in search of a sophisticated theoretical and methodological basis for the study of embodied action that resists a simplistic 'inverted Cartesianism
Dr Ian Burkitt
University of Bradford

In this accessible yet highly informative book Chris Shilling sets out an analytical framework that can help social scientists interpret the body in culture, history and society...I would recommend this book for any scholar with even a passing interest in the body and body culture. More specifically, it will be a useful resource for researchers, lecturers and final-year or postgraduate students examining the body in fields as seemingly wide as sociology, psychology, philosophy, geography and excellent contribution to body studies...I look forward to seeing Shilling’s perceptive ideas progress


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Product Details

Meet the Author

I am Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR). See the rest of the Sociology team.

My main teaching interests are in the areas of the body in culture and society, and in sociological theory. Ph D students are currently studying with me in areas such as the sociology of private spaces, tattooing, evangelical church membership, women's drinking, and sight loss.

Becoming increasingly dissatisfied with cognitive conceptions of agency and identity, and disembodied models of structure, society and social relationships in the late 1980s, I began working on issues concerning the body and embodiment (in education, consumer culture and social and cultural theory), and since that time have become one of the main figures in the establishment of the interdisciplinary field of body studies.

Issues relating to embodiment have become increasingly important across the social sciences and humanities and have stimulated a major reconstruction of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary work, as the limitations of linguistic turns have become apparent and as scholars interrogate, once again, issues pertaining to materiality. The generative, receptive, permeable and performative characteristics and capacities of embodied subjects and inter-corporeal relations are key to these concerns.

My best known book is probably The Body and Social Theory (Sage Press, Theory, Culture & Society series, 1993) which has been translated widely. The second edition was published in 2003, and has also appeared in a number of different languages, and I completed the third edition recently which is scheduled for September 2012 publication.

My other main books include:

The Body in Culture, Technology and Society (Sage / TCS, 2005)
Changing Bodies. Habit, Crisis and Creativity (Sage / TCS, 2008)
Embodying Sociology (Editor, Blackwells / The Sociological Review Monograph Series, 2007)
(with Philip A. Mellor) Re-forming the Body: Religion, Community, Modernity (Sage / TCS, 1997)
(with Philip A. Mellor) The Sociological Ambition (Sage / TCS, 2001).
I am the current editor of The Sociological Review Monograph Series.

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Table of Contents

Embodying Social Action
Embodying Social Research

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