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The American Body in Context: An Anthology
     

The American Body in Context: An Anthology

by Jessica R. Johnston (Editor), Samantha Holland (Contribution by), Kay Toombs (Contribution by), Frederik Pohl (Contribution by), Hans Moravec (Contribution by)
 
From Marilyn Monroe to the Spice Girls, from Arnold Schwarzenegger to O.J. Simpson, from Grover Cleveland to President Clinton, to one's own naked form reflected in the mirror each morning, Americans are taught to read bodies as symbols displaying and revealing hidden "truths" about the individual and his or her behaviors. Any discussion of the body becomes

Overview

From Marilyn Monroe to the Spice Girls, from Arnold Schwarzenegger to O.J. Simpson, from Grover Cleveland to President Clinton, to one's own naked form reflected in the mirror each morning, Americans are taught to read bodies as symbols displaying and revealing hidden "truths" about the individual and his or her behaviors. Any discussion of the body becomes complex and muddled as one tries to analyze how and why certain body types are attributed certain meanings.

The human 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 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 looks at body relationships, examining American historical and contemporary social constructions of the body. This new book allows readers to explore interrelationships between the individualized and the culturally produced nature of the body.

The American Body in Context investigates many provocative topics, including cyborg cinema as exemplified by Star Trek and The Terminator; Madonna and Michael Jordan; sex and advertising; the body on the World Wide Web; the pressure of the media on the female body; disabled bodies; and weight consciousness.

This is an excellent book for readers interested in the powerful nature of the human body and how it affects-and is affected by-the society around it.

Editorial Reviews

Eileen Boris
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. In model introductory sections, Jessica Johnston not only clearly explicates postmodern theory without ignoring race, gender, or class differences, but also reveals the contested place of the body in contemporary American culture. Perfect for classroom use.
Peter N. Stearns
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 is a forceful contribution to contemporary and historical understandings, and it raises the question: Once we know about cultural determinations, what can or should we do about them?
Bryan S. Turner
A powerful insight into American society from the standpoint of the body. The American Body in Context offers a comprehensive and compelling overview of recent literature on body and embodiment in modern culture. Jessica Johnston has assembled a glittering array of contributions to the literature on body and culture that provides a definitive statement of the field of inquiry in sociology and cultural studies.
John L. Caughey
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780842028585
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
05/28/2001
Series:
American Visions: Readings in American Culture Series
Pages:
335
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.22(h) x 1.16(d)

What People are Saying About This

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....
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.

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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