Reflexive Embodiment in Contemporary Society / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


In this book, Nick Crossley explores the concept of reflexive embodiment - how we, as embodied beings, reflect upon our own embodiment. He considers the ways in which we modify and maintain our bodies, from brushing our teeth and washing our faces through to tattooing and bodybuilding. Some forms of 'body work' are demanded by social conventions; others represent legitimate choices, and others still deviate from or resist the norm. He argues that a proper understanding of reflexive embodiment must be alert to these differences, and that we must appreciate that our bodies are not passive or inert substances that we can mould as we like. They change in ways that we do not intend and of which we are not aware, and they may prove difficult to change in the ways we do intend.

Many theorists in sociology offer perspectives on the link between society and body modification, mostly focused in one way or another upon 'modernity'. Reflexive Embodiment in Contemporary Society reviews this literature, evaluates competing claims and suggests an alternative approach. Nick Crossley contends that existing perspectives are very selective in the range of modification practices they focus upon and in their conception of both modernity and its effects upon the body. While various theories identify clusters of modification practices and link them to aspects of modernity, there has been no systematic attempt to combine these partial accounts into a coherent vision. This book provides such a vision and offers a major contribution to the sociology of the body.

About the Author:
Nick Crossley is a professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780335216970
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Series: Sociology and Social Change Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 174
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Table of Contents

Series editor's preface     ix
Acknowledgements     xi
Introduction     1
Reviewing the field
Identity, individualism and risk     11
Civilization, informalization and distinction     24
Power, resistance and discipline     39
Consumption, gender and the fashion-beauty complex     52
Rethinking reflexive embodiment
Introduction to Part Two     68
Obesity crisis     71
Blind spots, the absent body and being-for-others     79
I, me and the other     88
Reflexive body techniques and social networks     102
Mapping reflexive embodiment     114
Conclusion     140
References     144
Index     153
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