The Body in Culture, Technology and Society (Published in by Chris Shilling

By Chris Shilling

`This is a magnificent booklet via one of many major social theorists operating within the box of physique reviews. It presents a severe summation of theoretical and great paintings within the box so far, whereas additionally proposing a robust argument for a corporeal realism during which the physique is either generative of the emergent houses of social constitution and a position in their results. Its scope and originality make it a key aspect of reference for college kids and teachers in physique reports and within the social and cultural sciences extra normally' - Ian Burkitt, Reader in Social technology, college of Bradford `Chris Shilling is as constantly a lucid advisor during the dense thickets of the "sociology of the body", and his chapters at the fields of labor, activity, consuming, track and expertise brilliantly express how summary theoretical debates relate to the genuine international of people's lives' - Professor Stephen Mennell, college collage Dublin`What we're provided right here is... a step swap in viewpoint on "body concerns" that's either leading edge and of primary significance to somebody engaged on this sociological terrain... this article is groundbreaking and easily needs to be learn' - Acta SociologicaThis is a milestone within the sociology of the physique. The e-book deals the main complete assessment of the sphere up to now and an cutting edge framework for the research of embodiment. it truly is based on a revised view of the relation of classical works to the physique. It argues that the physique may be learn as a multi-dimensional medium for the structure of society. Upon this starting place, the writer constructs a sequence of analyses of the physique and the financial system, tradition, sociality, paintings, activity, tune, meals and expertise.

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These circumstances are consolidated by the primary environment in which money is pursued, the metropolis. The built environment of the metropolis is characterized by a quantity and velocity of stimuli which overwhelm the sensory capacities of humans. This prompts the individual to reduce the effect of the fluctuations of the external milieu by reacting intellectually, thus intensifying conscious life and withdrawing from full sensory life, and through the adoption of a blasé attitude. Here, the embodied subject apprehends everything as ‘being of an equally dull and grey hue, as not worth getting excited about’ (Simmel, 1971 [1903]: 325; 1990 [1907]: 256).

Qxd 01/09/2004 10:44 Page 37 Classical Bodies ways of responding to situations which release us ‘from an incessant search for appropriate conduct’ (Durkheim, 1973c [1925]: 37, 40, 73). Even in modernity, the advancing division of labour, with its attendant ‘cult of the individual’, leads to ‘the glorification not of the self but of the individual in general’, a sentiment associated with the extension of rights and respect for personal differences (Durkheim, 1973a [1898]: 48–9). This cult, manifest through the diversity of bodily identities developed in the contemporary era, expresses a variety which ‘binds us all to each other’, prompting individuals to ‘reach outside’ themselves in looking to others as a means of adding ‘to the energy’ they possess (Durkheim, 1973a [1898]: 48–9, 53; 1995 [1912]: 427).

Social constructionist views also fail, but for the different reason that they view the body as an empty vessel filled, and even created, by the determining forces of society. While focusing on the body as a location, such approaches are unable to appreciate its significance as a source of society, or, as a result of not being able to recognize the physical body’s interaction with society, as a means by which people are positioned within and oriented towards the environment. qxd 01/09/2004 10:43 Page 24 2 Classical Bodies This chapter advances the thesis that it is not only possible to develop significant approaches to the body–society relationship from the writings of classical social thinkers, but that several of the most important of these thinkers converged around a theory of human embodiment as a multidimensional medium for the constitution of society.

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