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1 SO4025: Body Work and Body Workers Lecture 1: The Body in Sociology.

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Presentation on theme: "1 SO4025: Body Work and Body Workers Lecture 1: The Body in Sociology."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 SO4025: Body Work and Body Workers Lecture 1: The Body in Sociology

2 2 First things first… Debra Gimlin – Office: Edward Wright F20; phone: x2771; email: Tutorials Course guide Readings Lecture outlines Lecture format SO4025

3 3 Outline Reintroduce Sociology of the Body The body as an absent presence in classical sociology Anthropologys attention to the body Topics covered in Body & Society Overview of this semesters themes

4 4 The Body in Sociology An absent presence in early sociology Emergence of the discipline Marks out a sociological domain Differentiates social from biological and individual Largely disregards genetic and psychological factors

5 5 The Body in Sociology An absent presence in early sociology Concerns of the early sociologists Character of industrial urban societies Social order Rational action Social structure (rather than nature)

6 6 The Body in Sociology The body was still relevant to early sociological analyses The ascetic body of Puritanism (Weber) Warns against the move towards rationalisation Human bodily labour in industrial capitalism (Marx) Capitalism requires the continual production and reproduction of human bodies

7 7 The Body in Anthropology The body is an key concern for this discipline Focus on human universals Importance of body in rites of passage Debate concerning social Darwinism e.g., emotional expression

8 8 The Social Body 1. Central to notions of the self (Mead) 2. Mediates the relationship between self and other (Goffman) 3. Reflects the social system (Douglas, Elias) 4. Provides for social classification 5. Conveys social role 6. Can undermine performances 7. Speaks to gender inequalities 8. Prominence within consumer culture 9. Social life/interaction is mediated through the body

9 9 Body Work Transforms the natural body into a social entity Involves numerous industries and organisations: Beauty/fashion Food Entertainment Education Medicine Sports/leisure

10 10 Body Work Running: 90 mins Bathing: 20 mins Hair:20 mins Food prep:90 mins Eating:90 mins Teeth:10 mins Other:30 mins ~ 6 hours

11 11 Body Work and Body Workers Focus on the work done to make natural bodies into social products Attention to social structure (without ignoring culture) Also to individual agency Theoretical perspectives Bodily development and social location The commodified body The body as physical capital

12 12 Body Work and Body Workers The body as project: reflects an individual identity Related to conditions of high modernity Decline in traditional sources of identity Generalised sense of risk Increasing ability to rationalise the body Intensified focus on consumption The body is one of the last arenas open to control Also an individual responsibility That control is far from absolute: dieting, disease, reproduction Ethical questions: biotechnology, genetic engineering, sports medicine

13 13 Summary The body in sociology (more and less) Anthropology and the body The social body Body Work & Body Workers Relevant industries The role of agency Bodily development/commodification Physical capital The body as project

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