The body and experiences of embodiment have generated a rich and diverse sociological literature. This volume articulates and illustrates one major approach to the sociology of the body: symbolic interactionism, an increasingly prevalent theoretical base of contemporary sociology derived from the pragmatism of writers such as John Dewey, William James, Charles Peirce, Charles Cooley and George Herbert Mead. The authors argue that, from an interactionist perspective, the body is much more than a tangible, corporeal object - it is a vessel of great significance to the individual and society. From this perspective, body, self and social interaction are intimately interrelated and constantly reconfigured. The collection constitutes a unique anthology of empirical research on the body, from health and illness to sexuality, from beauty and imagery to bodily performance in sport and art, and from mediated communication to plastic surgery. The contributions are informed by innovative interactionist theory, offering fresh insights into one of the fastest growing sub-disciplines of sociology and cultural studies.
Contents: Introduction: The body and symbolic interaction, Dennis D. Waskul and Phillip Vannini. The Looking-Glass Body: Reflexivity as Embodiment: The networked body and the question of reflexivity, Nick Crossley; Reflections of the body, images of self: visibility and invisibility in chronic illness and disability, Kathy Charmaz and Dana Rosenfeld; Reflexive transembodiment, Douglas Schrock and Emily Boyd. The Dramaturgical Body: Body as Performance: Building bodily boundaries: embodied enactment and experience, Spencer E. Cahill; Body armor: managing disability and the precariousness of the territories of the self, Carol Brooks Gardner and William P. Gronfein; Opera and the embodiment of performance, Paul Atkinson; Samba no mar: bodies, movement, and idiom in Capoeira, Neil Stephens and Sara Delamont. The Phenomenological Body: Body as Province of Meaning: Corporeal indeterminacy: the value of embodied, interpretive sociology, Lee F. Monaghan; Intelligent bodies: embodied subjectivity and human-horse communication, Keri Brandt; Professional female football players: tackling like a girl?, Joseph Kotarba and Matt Held; The addict's body: embodiment, drug use, and representation, Richard Huggins. The Socio-Semiotic Body: Body as Trace of Culture: Body ekstasis: socio-semiotic reflections on surpassing the dualism of body-image, Phillip Vannini and Dennis D. Waskul; Eating the black body: interracial desire, food metaphor and white fear, Erica Owens and Bronwyn Beistle; Claiming the bodies of exotic dancers: the problematic discourse of commodification, Carol Rambo, Sara RenA(c)e Presley and Don Mynatt. The Narrative Body: Body as Story: The fit and healthy body: consumer narratives and the management of postmodern corporeity, Charles Edgley; Masks of masculinity: (sur)passing narratives and cosmetic surgery, Michael Atkinson; The pregnant/birthing body: negotiations of personal autonomy, Rachel Westfall. Conclusion: Viewing the body: an overview, exploration and extension, Clinton R. Sanders; Index.
'Body/Embodiment shows bodies doing things (getting sick, giving birth), people doing things to bodies (having surgery, injecting drugs, becoming fit or thin), people doing things with bodies (playing sports, singing opera), and in all these activities, people finding out who they are in the measure of their embodiment. These studies demonstrate the continuing relevance of Cooley, Goffman, and the symbolic interactionist view of life.' Arthur W. Frank, University of Calgary, Canada 'The nineteen essays in the collection draw upon work by key figures within that perspective and the pragmatist tradition...Waskul and Vannini[s] text...draws attention to (both minor and more significant) variations of emphasis within a single theoretical perspective on the body...the essays in the collection are engaging and well written...it provides a number of good examples of theoretically-informed empirical work, making it a resource that is altogether too rare within the body studies literature.' British Journal of Sociology