The Politics Of The Marked Body

Paperback (Print)
Not Available on

More About This Textbook


This project is a critical and comparative investigation of Western and non-Western practices of body modification. Situated in the realm of feminist political theory, the project engages the literature and debates concerning embodiment, or the symbolic and concrete meanings of women's bodies. I specifically explore two examples of the physical construction of women's bodies: breast implantation in the United States and female genital cutting (FGC) in Senegal. I demonstrate that each of the practices molds bodies into preexisting naturalized forms. For this project, I conducted eighty in-depth, open-ended, and semi-structured interviews with women and men in twelve different locations in Senegal. Then, I carried out sixty-five in-depth, open-ended, and semi-structured interviews with American men and women from twenty-one different cities. I argue that the information that emerges from looking at body normalization comparatively allows me to make two important claims. The first is that the material that originates from interviews in this comparative study disrupts existing hegemonic discourse on sex-based body modifications. In particular, the comparative findings challenge the viewpoint that espouses a "Western women are free, African women are oppressed" binary. Second, examining FGC in Senegal alongside breast implantation in the US can uncover normalization that is invisible within social fields, or in the lives of women and men. Normalization is hard to see when in it, but easier to see if an individual steps outside of herself, her context, and her patriarchy. Thus, though many women do not recognize the normalizing structures within their own lives, they often are able to see these hegemonic structures in the lives of others. Women stepping outside of their own contexts can provide fresh, critical eyes that recognize embedded normalizations and oppression in other contexts. Further, this realization also can push them to return that critical gaze onto their own environment, which is the beginning of locating mechanisms of control within their own field. The construction of sex and the imprinting of gender norms upon bodies are manifestations of regulation and normalization that occur within socio-cultural contexts, and which individuals can potentially locate through a comparative conversation of this type.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781244101869
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/12/2011
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)