Body, Culture and Society: An Introduction Melissa Tyler Hancock, Philip, Bill Hughes, Elizabeth Jagger, Kevin Patterson, Rachel Russell and Em- manuelle Tulle-Winton Open University Press: Buckingham 0335204139 (pb) £14.99 (pb) x + 146 Order this book? The body is central to many contemporary political projects, and this book is an excellent introduction to theories of the body in a wide range of areas, including medical sociology, disability, consumption, ethics and ageing. It draws on a wide range of critical cultural perspectives, including feminism, critical theory, postmodernism and social gerontology. Chapter One, “Medicalized bodies” by Bill Hughes is a fascinating discussion of individual and collective responsibilities for healthy bodies. Hughes suggests that over the last 100 years, medicine shifted from a narrow “biomedical” approach which focused solely on biology to a “biopsychosocial” approach which focuses both on bodies and their environments. This shift has been accompanied by the medicalisation of everyday life, where individuals are under increased pressure to regulate and monitor their own bodies. Hughes argues that individuals are expected to be fully responsible for the shape and size of their bodies. This pressure towards vigilance over the body is further promoted by narratives of personal transformation through dieting,
Sociological Research Online – SAGE
Published: May 1, 2004
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