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Body & Society

Impact factor: 1.651 5-Year impact factor: 1.342 Print ISSN: 1357-034X Publisher: Sage Publications

Subject: Sociology

Most recent papers:

  • The New Biologies: Epigenetics, the Microbiome and Immunities.
    Blackman, L.
    Body & Society. September 22, 2016
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    September 22, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16662325   open full text
  • Fetal-Maternal Intra-action: Politics of New Placental Biologies.
    Yoshizawa, R. S.
    Body & Society. September 22, 2016

    Extensively employed in reproductive science, the term fetal–maternal interface describes how maternal and fetal tissues interact in the womb to produce the transient placenta, purporting a theory of pregnancy where ‘mother’, ‘fetus’, and ‘placenta’ are already-separate entities. However, considerable scientific evidence supports a different theory, which is also elaborated in feminist and new materialist literatures. Informed by interviews with placenta scientists as well as secondary sources on placental immunology and the developmental origins of health and disease, I explore evidence not of interfacing during pregnancy, but of intra-action, or the mutual emergence of entities in simultaneous practices of differentiation and connection. I argue that attending to evidence that can be figured as intra-action enables us to recognize, account for, and attend to diffuse responsibilities for fetal–maternal outcomes that extend beyond mothers to the biosocial milieus of pregnancy. In reimaging the intra-action of placentas, a new understanding of what constitutes a ‘healthy pregnancy’ becomes possible.

    September 22, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16662323   open full text
  • Architecture of Sensation: Affect, Motility and the Oculomotor.
    Paterson, M.
    Body & Society. September 22, 2016

    Recent social theory that stresses the ‘nonrepresentational’, the ‘more-than visual’, and the relationship between affect and sensation have tended to assume some kind of break or rupture from historical antecedents. Especially since the contributions of Crary and Jay in the 1990s, when it comes to perceiving the built environment the complexities of sensation have been partially obscured by the dominance of a static model of vision as the principal organizing modality. This article returns to some prior historical articulations of the significance of motility in perception, retracing pathways across art history, architectural theory and the history of neuroscience to argue for an alternative model based on the movement of the eye. Along with subsystems that deal with balance and orientation, I offer parallels between spatial motifs of the interior spaces of the body – labyrinths, vestibules, chambers – and those in artefacts and the built environment that contribute to the heightened physicality of the oculomotor subject.

    September 22, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16662324   open full text
  • Wireless Heart Patients and the Quantified Self.
    Grew, J. C., Svendsen, M. N.
    Body & Society. September 22, 2016

    Remote monitoring of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) patients links patients wirelessly to the clinic via a box in their bedroom. The box transmits data from the ICD to a remote database accessible to clinicians without patient involvement. Data travel across time and space; clinicians can monitor patients from a distance and instantly know about cardiac events. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in two Danish hospitals, this article explores the configuration of the wireless ICD patient by following a number of patients through hospitalisation, implantation, in-clinic follow-up, and remote monitoring. Wireless therapy, we argue, scripts the patient as data. In high-tech clinical encounters, data are enacted as extensions and copies of the patient, and even proxies that, in patients’ experiences, may turn into identity thieves. In illuminating the multiple positions that data take in such clinical encounters and in patients’ experiences we discuss the ambiguities that arise when patients go wireless.

    September 22, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16663005   open full text
  • Self-tracking in the Digital Era: Biopower, Patriarchy, and the New Biometric Body Projects.
    Sanders, R.
    Body & Society. July 18, 2016

    This article employs Foucauldian and feminist analytics to advance a critical approach to wearable digital health- and activity-tracking devices. Following Foucault’s insight that the growth of individual capabilities coincides with the intensification of power relations, I argue that digital self-tracking devices (DSTDs) expand individuals’ capacity for self-knowledge and self-care at the same time that they facilitate unprecedented levels of biometric surveillance, extend the regulatory mechanisms of both public health and fashion/beauty authorities, and enable increasingly rigorous body projects devoted to the attainment of normative femininity. These technologies of surveillance, normalization, and discipline thus function to augment, and facilitate the cooperation of, neoliberal-era biopower and post-feminist patriarchal power. My analysis of digital self-tracking devices’ instrumentality to biopower and patriarchy contributes to the emergent field of critical digital health studies and builds new connections between political, social, and feminist theories of embodiment; biopower studies; fat studies; and trans-disciplinary body studies.

    July 18, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16660366   open full text
  • Experimenting with Affect across Drawing and Choreography.
    De Brabandere, N.
    Body & Society. June 08, 2016

    In this article, I analyse line-rendering techniques in drawing and choreography, based on a Deleuzian framework. This pragmatic approach for understanding affect emerges in three distinct formulations. The first engages the coincidence of drawing and choreography at the limit of reach; the second investigates how trace and movement generate different yet mutually resonant versions of semblance. The third framework considers the potential for improvisation in the irreconcilability of contour and surface in the weighted line. These three framings generate an experimental milieu in which I articulate the co-emergence of thought and feeling in relation to relevant concepts of the body and affect. In activating affective intensity in different line-rendering operations, this analysis traces the way that affects help to modulate tendencies of moving, feeling and thinking over a series of operations.

    June 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16640325   open full text
  • Risky Bodies, Drugs and Biopolitics: On the Pharmaceutical Governance of Addiction and Other 'Diseases of Risk.
    Vrecko, S.
    Body & Society. June 08, 2016

    While there has been a significant amount of scholarship done on health and risk in relation to public health and disease prevention, relatively little attention has been paid to therapeutic interventions which seek to manage risks as bodily, and biological, matters. This article elucidates the distinct qualities and logics of these two different approaches to risk management, in relation to Michel Foucault’s conception of the two poles of biopower, that is, a biopolitics of the population and an anatomo-politics of the human body. Using a case study of contemporary addiction biomedicine, the article examines the development and deployment of treatments for addiction that seek to reduce the risks of relapse to drug use, and relates this case to other risk-reducing (but non-curative) medications, particularly cholesterol-reducing medications. The notion of a ‘disease of risk’ is developed in order to identify a range of medical conditions that bear a family resemblance, insofar as they are pharmaceutically managed with risk-reducing medications, and bound up within what is described as a contemporary ‘risk anatomo-politics’.

    June 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16644509   open full text
  • Corporeal Commodification and Womens Work: Feminist Analysis of Private Umbilical Cord Blood Banking.
    Haw, J.
    Body & Society. June 08, 2016

    Private cord blood banking is the practice of paying to save cord blood for potential future use. Informed by the literature on corporeal commodification and feminist theories, this article analyses women’s work in banking cord blood. This article is based on in-depth interviews with 13 women who banked in a private bank in Canada. From learning about cord blood banking to collecting cord blood and transporting it to the private bank’s laboratory, women labour to ensure that cord blood is successfully banked. Private cord blood banking involves the overlap or insertion of commercial practices, and relations with clinical practices and relations that may cause tensions and confusion for women and clinical practitioners. Moreover, private banking reinforces and is reinforced by an ‘intensive mothering’ ideology. This article shows that corporeal commodification is not confined to a laboratory and the work of experts but extends into women’s everyday lives.

    June 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16645169   open full text
  • Queering 'Successful Ageing, Dementia and Alzheimers Research.
    Bülow, M. H., Holm, M.-L.
    Body & Society. June 08, 2016

    Contributing to both ageing research and queer-feminist scholarship, this article introduces feminist philosopher Margrit Shildrick’s queer notion of the monstrous to the subject of ageing and the issue of dealing with frailty within ageing research. The monstrous, as a norm-critical notion, takes as its point of departure that we are always already monstrous, meaning that the western ideal of well-ordered, independent, unleaky, rational embodied subjects is impossible to achieve. From this starting point the normalizing and optimizing strategies of ageing research – here exemplified through the concept of successful ageing and the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease – can be problematized. The notion of the monstrous instead suggests a view on ageing and ‘monstrous’ embodiment which provides room for other, different ways of being recognized as an embodied subject, and for dealing with difference, vulnerability and frailty.

    June 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/1357034X16649243   open full text
  • Health Promotion, Governmentality and the Challenges of Theorizing Pleasure and Desire.
    Karlsen, M. P., Villadsen, K.
    Body & Society. November 12, 2015

    The relationship between pleasure and asceticism has been at the core of debates on western subjectivity at least since Nietzsche. Addressing this theme, this article explores the emergence of ‘non-authoritarian’ health campaigns, which do not propagate abstention from harmful substances but intend to foster a ‘well-balanced subject’ straddling pleasure and asceticism. The article seeks to develop the Foucauldian analytical framework by foregrounding a strategy of subjectivation that integrates desire, pleasure and enjoyment into health promotion. The point of departure is the overwhelming emphasis in the governmentality literature on ‘prudence’, ‘self-responsibility’ or ‘risk calculation’, such that pleasure and desire remain largely absent from the framework. Some insights from Žižek’s work are introduced to help us obtain a firmer grasp on the problematic of ‘the well-balanced subject’. The article argues that, in order to analyse the transformation of interpellation in recent health promotion, we must recognize the mechanism of self-distance or dis-identification as an integral part of the procedure of subjectification.

    November 12, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X15616465   open full text
  • Epigenetics and Obesity: The Reproduction of Habitus through Intracellular and Social Environments.
    Warin, M., Moore, V., Davies, M., Ulijaszek, S.
    Body & Society. July 07, 2015

    Bourdieu suggested that the habitus contains the ‘genetic information’ which both allows and disposes successive generations to reproduce the world they inherit from their parents’ generation. While his writings on habitus are concerned with embodied dispositions, biological processes are not a feature of the practical reason of habitus. Recent critiques of the separate worlds of biology and culture, and the rise in epigenetics, provide new opportunities for expanding theoretical concepts like habitus. Using obesity science as a case study we attempt to conceptualise the enfolding of biological and social processes (via a Deleuzian metaphor) to develop a concept of biohabitus – reconfiguring how social and biological environments interact across the life course, and may be transmitted and transformed intergenerationally. In conclusion we suggest that the enfolding and reproduction of social life that Bourdieu articulated as habitus is a useful theoretical frame that can be enhanced to critically develop epigenetic understandings of obesity, and vice versa.

    July 07, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X15590485   open full text
  • Selfies, Image and the Re-making of the Body.
    Tiidenberg, K., Gomez Cruz, E.
    Body & Society. July 07, 2015

    This article explores the relationality between women’s bodies and selfies on NSFW (Not Safe For Work) tumblr blogs. We consider the way selfie practices engage with normative, ageist and sexist assumptions of the wider culture in order to understand how specific ways of looking become possible. Women’s experiences of their bodies change through interactions, sense of community and taking and sharing selfies. This article provides an empirical elaboration on what sexy selfies are and do by analysing interviews, selfies and blog content of nine women in the NSFW self-shooters community on tumblr. For our participants, self-shooting is an engaged, self-affirmative and awareness raising pursuit, where their body, through critically self-aware self-care, emerges as agentic, sexual and distinctly female. Thus, this is a reading of selfies as a practice of freedom.

    July 07, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X15592465   open full text
  • Putting Habitus Back in its Place? Reflections on the Homines in Extremis Debate.
    Atkinson, W.
    Body & Society. June 29, 2015

    This commentary reflects on Loïc Wacquant’s interpretation of the concept of habitus as developed in his response to critics of his article published in this journal, Homines in Extremis. His comments on collective habitus and fieldless habitus in particular are deemed questionable, not just on the grounds that they break from the relational logic of Bourdieu’s sociology but because they sit uneasily with findings unearthed in a diverse array of empirical studies. Some constructive comments are offered on notions he rejects or obscures, and a distinction between ‘field analysis’ and ‘lifeworld analysis’ is introduced to encapsulate the difference between analysing habitus in relation to an individual field and examining individual habitus in relation to multiple fields.

    June 29, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X15590486   open full text
  • Book Review: Dimensions of Pain: Humanities and Social Sciences Perspectives.
    Dolezal, L.
    Body & Society. April 24, 2015
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 24, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14524232   open full text
  • The Politics of Immunity: Reading Cohen through Canguilhem and New Materialism.
    Jamieson, M.
    Body & Society. March 26, 2015

    The issue of what is proper to nature, or life itself, is central to critical accounts of biomedicine and its complex interrelations with social, political and economic forces. These engagements, namely biopolitical accounts of medical practices and ethical-political critiques of biomedical discourse, grapple with the indistinction between the political and biological that biomedicine enacts. Making a significant contribution to both literatures, Ed Cohen’s A Body Worth Defending argues that the emergence of the concept of biological immunity signals the entry of politics into life itself and, as such, constitutes a concrete example of biopolitics. This article examines Cohen’s account of how the political becomes biological, and the view of life it assumes. Seeking to open up the question of biology, it draws on the work of Georges Canguilhem, and New Materialist accounts of matter–meaning entanglement, to offer a reading of knowledge and life, or politics and biology, as ontologically entangled.

    March 26, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14551843   open full text
  • The MRSA Epidemic and/as Fluid Biopolitics.
    Newman, J. I., Shields, R., McLeod, C. M.
    Body & Society. March 26, 2015

    This article offers a series of critical theorizations on the biopolitical dimensions of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), with specific attention to what has recently been referred to in the United States as the ‘MRSA Epidemic’. In particular, we reflect on the proliferation of biomedical discourses around the ‘spread’, and the pathogenic potentialities, of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). We turn to the work of Roberto Esposito and Jean-Luc Nancy to better make sense of how, during this immunological crisis, the individualized fleshy and fluid body is articulated to dimensions of community and corporeal proximity; the body is thus conceived in popular biopolitical framings as a site of transmission, inoculation, and isolation – as a living ecological and pathological vessel. We give emphasis to the spatial relations of flesh, namely in how biomedical ‘experts’ have sought to (bio-)technologize spaces of heightened communal bodily contact (such as playgrounds or gymnasia).

    March 26, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14551844   open full text
  • Immunity, Biopolitics and Pandemics: Public and Individual Responses to the Threat to Life.
    Davis, M., Flowers, P., Lohm, D., Waller, E., Stephenson, N.
    Body & Society. March 26, 2015

    This article examines discourse on immunity in general public engagements with pandemic influenza in light of critical theory on immuno-politics and bodily integrity. Interview and focus group discussions on influenza with members of the general public reveal that, despite endorsement of government advice on how to avoid infection, influenza is seen as, ultimately, unavoidable. In place of prevention, members of the general public speak of immunity as the means of coping with influenza infection. Such talk on corporeal life under microbial threat is informed by self/not-self, network and ‘choice’ immunity, and therefore makes considerable allowance for cosmopolitan traffic with others, microbes, ‘dirt’ and immune-boosting consumer products. The immuno-political orientation of members of the general public, therefore, appears to trend towards a productive cosmopolitanism that contrasts with more orthodox bioscientific and governmental approaches to pandemic influenza. We reflect on the implications of the immuno-cosmopolitanism of everyday life for the advent of global public health emergency and for biopolitical rule in general.

    March 26, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14556155   open full text
  • Antibiotic Resistance and the Biology of History.
    Landecker, H.
    Body & Society. March 26, 2015

    Beginning in the 1940s, mass production of antibiotics involved the industrial-scale growth of microorganisms to harvest their metabolic products. Unfortunately, the use of antibiotics selects for resistance at answering scale. The turn to the study of antibiotic resistance in microbiology and medicine is examined, focusing on the realization that individual therapies targeted at single pathogens in individual bodies are environmental events affecting bacterial evolution far beyond bodies. In turning to biological manifestations of antibiotic use, sciences fathom material outcomes of their own previous concepts. Archival work with stored soil and clinical samples produces a record described here as ‘the biology of history’: the physical registration of human history in bacterial life. This account thus foregrounds the importance of understanding both the materiality of history and the historicity of matter in theories and concepts of life today.

    March 26, 2015   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14561341   open full text
  • Rapid Home HIV Testing: Risk and the Moral Imperatives of Biological Citizenship.
    Banda, J.
    Body & Society. July 21, 2014

    This article examines the home rapid HIV test as a new practice of US biocitizenship. Via an analysis of discourse surrounding self-diagnostics, I conclude that while home HIV tests appear to expand consumer rights, they are in fact the vanguard of a new form of self-testing that carries a moral urgency to protect one’s own body and to manage societal risk. In addition, these tests extend biomedical authority into the private domain, while appearing to do the exact opposite. Furthermore, access to these tests may be stratified, contradicting the intent expressed by the manufacturer to reach populations in need of it most and reinforcing stigma against them. Lastly, diagnostics such as the rapid home HIV test represent new obligations for surveillance of one’s own health and that of others. The new public health effort to test the population at large has given rise to a new ‘risky’ population: the untested bodies.

    July 21, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14528391   open full text
  • From Disfigurement to Facial Transplant: Identity Insights.
    Le Breton, D.
    Body & Society. July 21, 2014

    The face embodies for the individual the sense of identity, that is to say, precisely the place where someone recognizes himself and where others recognize him. From the outset the face is meaning, translating in a living and enigmatic form the absoluteness yet minuteness of individual difference. Any alteration to the face puts at stake the sense of identity. Disfigurement destroys the sense of identity of an individual who can no longer recognize himself or be recognized by others. Disfigurement places a mask on the face. The goal of a facial transplant consists of restoring an individual’s place in the world and reviving his taste for life, returning to him his ‘human shape’. Facial transplants raise essential anthropological questions such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘To whom belongs this face that henceforth is mine?’

    July 21, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14536448   open full text
  • Material Feminism, Obesity Science and the Limits of Discursive Critique.
    Warin, M.
    Body & Society. July 21, 2014

    This article explores a theoretical legacy that underpins the ways in which many social scientists come to know and understand obesity. In attempting to distance itself from essentialist discourses, it is not surprising that this literature focuses on the discursive construction of fat bodies rather than the materiality or agency of bodily matter. Ironically, in developing arguments that only critique representations of obesity or fat bodies, social science scholars have maintained and reproduced a central dichotomy of Cartesian thinking – that between social construction and biology. In this article I examine the limitations of social constructionist arguments in obesity/critical fat studies and the implications for ignoring materiality. Through bringing together the theoretical insights of material feminism and obesity science’s attention to maternal nutrition and the fetal origins hypothesis, this article moves beyond the current philosophical impasse, and repositions biological and social constructionist approaches to obesity not as mutually exclusive, but as one of constant interplay and connectedness.

    July 21, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14537320   open full text
  • Risky Bodies in the Plasma Bioeconomy: A Feminist Analysis.
    Kent, J., Farrell, A.-M.
    Body & Society. March 25, 2014

    In 2003 the UK National Blood Service introduced a policy of ‘male donor preference’ which involved women’s plasma being discarded following blood collection. The policy was based on the view that data relating to the incidence of Transfusion-Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI) was linked to transfusion with women’s plasma. While appearing to treat female donors as equal to male donors, exclusion criteria operate after donation at the stage of processing blood, thus perpetuating myths of universality even though only certain ‘extractions’ from women are retained for use in transfusion. Many women in the UK receive a plasma-derived product called Anti-D immunoglobulin which is manufactured from pooled male plasma. This article examines ways in which gender has significance for understanding blood relations, and how the blood economy is gendered. In our study of relations between blood donors and recipients, we explore how gendered bodies are produced through the discursive and material practices within blood services. We examine both how donation policies and the manufacturing and use of blood products produces gendered blood relations.

    March 25, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13520331   open full text
  • Nature Cure and Ayurveda: Nationalism, Viscerality and Bio-ecology in India.
    Alter, J. S.
    Body & Society. March 14, 2014

    Nationalism can be closely associated with powerful feelings about the relationship among cultural heritage, identity and embodied experience. Almost by definition this relationship is expressed in terms of continuity, distinctiveness and the purity of tradition, to an extent that nationalistic sentiments can be said to be ‘visceral.’ Contrasting the way in which the body is implicated in nature cure and Ayurveda, two forms of medicine closely linked to nationalism in India, this article presents an analytical perspective on the embodiment of viscerality to provide a more nuanced understanding of how these experiences blur distinctions of cultural continuity and how an ecology of the body shapes the cultural politics of tradition in India.

    March 14, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14520757   open full text
  • Body Image, Prostheses, Phantom Limbs.
    Crawford, C. S.
    Body & Society. March 14, 2014

    The body image with respect to physical disability has long been a woefully under-theorized area of scholarship. The literature that does attend to the body image in cases of physical abnormality or functional impairment regularly offer poorly articulated or problematic definitions of the concept, effectively undermining its historic analytic scope and depth. Here, I revisit the epistemic roots of the body image while also engaging the rich contemporary literature from a body studies perspective in order to situate the narratives of amputees about the relationship between dismemberment, prosthetization, phantom limb syndrome, and body image. Stories about living with artificial, fleshy, phantomed, and residual limbs unquestionably reveal a number of peculiarities unique to amputees. However, they also offer a distinctively productive ingress into the analytic utility of a ‘re-visioned’ conceptualization of the body image more broadly speaking. Indeed, the body image can function as a robust investigative tool for exploring the intersubjective, processual, and relational features of embodiment and corporeality.

    March 14, 2014   doi: 10.1177/1357034X14522102   open full text
  • Affect, Excess and Cybernetic Modification in Science Fiction Fantasy TV Series Farscape.
    Chaffey, L.
    Body & Society. October 09, 2013

    Responding to the co-production of screen seriality and human subjectivity within contemporary machine cultures and economies of excess, this article examines televisual affect and proposes concepts that address the languages, components and processes of particular televisual subjectivities. Discussions focus on science fiction fantasy series Farscape – a space odyssey fascinated with biotechnological evolution and mutative consciousness. This article aims to invigorate and extend the critical analysis of contemporary televisual affect, taking up questions and methodologies from Félix Guattari’s machinic ontology and Georges Bataille’s formulation of a sacrificial economy to address the conditions of consumption–production relevant to television today.

    October 09, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13497521   open full text
  • Making sense of domestic warmth: Affect, involvement, and thermoception in off-grid homes.
    Vannini, P., Taggart, J.
    Body & Society. October 09, 2013

    Drawing from ethnographic research conducted in Alberta, as well as across multiple sites in Canada, this article describes and discusses the practices and experiences of heating off the grid with renewable resources (i.e. passive solar and wood). Heating with renewable resources is herein examined in order to apprehend the cultural significance of dynamics of corporeal involvement in the process of creating indoor warmth. A distinction between energy for which corporeal involvement is relatively high (hot energy) and relatively low (cool energy) is then made. Off-grid indoor warmth is therefore understood as a hot energy requiring intense involvement. The authors argue that thermoception is a type of affect with catalytic properties.

    October 09, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13499381   open full text
  • Homines in Extremis: What Fighting Scholars Teach Us about Habitus.
    Wacquant, L.
    Body & Society. October 09, 2013

    I use the collection of "carnal ethnographies" of martial arts and combat sports assembled by Raul Sanchez and Dale Spencer under the title Fighting Scholars to spotlight the fruitfulness of deploying habitus as both empirical object (explanandum) and method of inquiry (modus cognitionis). The incarnate study of incarnation supports five propositions that clear up tenacious misconceptions about habitus and bolster Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of action: (1) far from being a "black box," habitus is fully amenable to empirical inquiry; (2) the distinction between primary (generic) and secondary (specific) habitus enables us to capture the malleability of dispositions; (3) habitus is composed of cognitive, conative and affective elements: categories, skills, and desires; (4) habitus allows us to turn carnality from problem to resource for the production of sociological knowledge; and (5) thus to realize that all social agents are, like martial artists, suffering beings collectively engaged in embodied activities staged inside circles of shared commitments.

    October 09, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13501348   open full text
  • Embodied Relationality and Caring after Death.
    McCarthy, J. R., Prokhovnik, R.
    Body & Society. October 09, 2013

    We explore contested meanings around care and relationality through the under-explored case of caring after death, throwing the relational significance of ‘bodies’ into sharp relief. While the dominant social imaginary and forms of knowledge production in many affluent western societies take death to signify an absolute loss of the other in the demise of their physical body, important implications follow from recognising that embodied relational experience can continue after death. Drawing on a model of embodied relational care encompassing a ‘me’, a ‘you’ and an ‘us’, we argue that after death ‘me’ and ‘us’ remain (though changed) while crucial dimensions of ‘you’ persist too. In unravelling the binary divide between living and dead bodies, other related dichotomies of mind/body, self/other, internal/external, and nature/social are also called into question, extending debates concerning relationality and openness between living bodies. Through an exploration of autobiographical accounts and empirical research, we argue that embodied relationality expresses how connectedness is lived out after death in material practices and felt experiences.

    October 09, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13506469   open full text
  • Having an Anthropocene Body: Hydrocarbons, Biofuels and Metabolism.
    Mackenzie, A.
    Body & Society. October 09, 2013

    What does it mean to have an Anthropocene body? The Anthropocene period is putatively defined by flows of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon derivatives (fuels, plastics, fertilizers, etc.), and the very term ‘Anthropocene’ suggests an increasing awareness of the finitude and contingency of contemporary corporealities. This article explores the idea of modelling an Anthropocene body as a living/non-living metabolic process. While identifying bodies with molecules raises a host of problems, metabolism and hydrocarbon biomolecules display a gamut of forms of possession and ways of having a body. Conversion between living and non-living forms of possession can be traced in contemporary genomic science and particularly in synthetic biology as they engineer microbes to produce next-generation biofuels. In contrast to fossil fuels, these fuels derive from genomically re-engineered microbes that digest biomass or photosynthesize to produce hydrocarbons. The problematic contemporary production of these fuels might help us to articulate what it means to have a body as a metabolic manifold of living and non-living forms of possession.

    October 09, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13506470   open full text
  • The Biopolitics of Masturbation: Masculinity, Complexity, and Security.
    Garlick, S.
    Body & Society. October 09, 2013

    Masturbation is a neglected topic in debates around biopower and biopolitics. This article takes Michel Foucault’s recasting of the idea of a regulatory, population-level form of biopower in terms of ‘mechanisms of security’ as its starting point for an investigation into the ways in which bodies enter into and are reshaped by biopolitical discourses on masturbation. While the notion of security faded from view in favour of Foucault’s better known focus on governmentality, this article argues that there is value in recovering the concept of security in the context of a genealogy of modern bodies. Specifically, it explores the possibility that a biopolitical perspective on security operates not only above, but also below the disciplining of individual masturbating bodies. The article proceeds, initially, via an examination of contemporary studies of masturbation, arguing that they largely neglect the material dynamism of bodies. The main focus, however, is on rereading some of the key works in the historical anti-masturbation literature from a complexity perspective. It is shown that these texts engage with a ‘population’ of vital forces and affects that must be regulated if life is to remain secure, and which circulate below the level of individual bodies in relation to a complex milieu. Finally, the article claims that men’s bodies appear as crucial sites of biopolitics, and that normative forms of masculinity can be regarded as interventions into embodiment that are designed to nullify or regulate complexity.

    October 09, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13506945   open full text
  • Where Bodies End and Artefacts Begin: Tools, Machines and Interfaces.
    Black, D.
    Body & Society. October 09, 2013

    Our use of artefacts has at different moments been characterised as either replacing or impoverishing our natural human capacities, or a key part of our humanity. This article critically evaluates the conception of the natural invoked by both accounts, and highlights the degree to which engagement with material features of the environment is fundamental to all living things, the closeness of this engagement making any account that seeks to draw a clear boundary between body and artefact problematic. By doing this I seek to clarify the nature of our embodied relationship with various kinds of artefacts; moving from tools to machines to digital interfaces, I consider their differing potentials to be gathered into the body schema, and thus change our embodied horizons of perception and action. While much research currently seeks to facilitate a more ‘natural’ mode of interacting with technology, I argue that such a mode of interaction does not exist outside the particularity of our relationships with specific objects. As a result, rather than trying to cater to supposedly more natural modes of action and perception, future technologies should aim to enrich our experience with new modes, inviting novel relationships that produce new kinds of sensory and other experience.

    October 09, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13506946   open full text
  • Corporeality, Sadomasochism and Sexual Trauma.
    Hammers, C.
    Body & Society. March 19, 2013

    Work in body studies and theories of affect challenge the mind/body dualism where human action/behavior is shown to be an embodied, lived event. More specifically, bodily practices not only inform/shape human subjectivity but convey what language—words—often cannot. BDSM is one such practice that illuminates embodied subjectivities, where the flesh proves pivotal to one’s orientation to/with the world. In this article I explore women BDSMers who, as survivors of sexual violence, engage in BDSM rape play. BDSM rape play foregrounds the flesh, exemplifying quite powerfully "bodily capacity," one where bodily disintegration that occurred with the sexual assault is disrupted through bodily recuperation. This felt experience—the body as the source of insight—carries considerable weight, and should inform our thinking when it comes to feminist explorations of sexuality and those contentious and controversial practices such as BDSM.

    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13477159   open full text
  • Rewriting Bodies, Portraiting Persons? The New Genetics, the Clinic and the Figure of the Human.
    Latimer, J.
    Body & Society. March 19, 2013

    Contemporary debate suggests that the new genetics may be changing ideas about the body and what it is to be human. Specifically, there are notions that the new genetics seems to erode the ideas that underpin modernity, such as the figure of the integrated, discrete, conscious individual body-self. Holding these ideas against the practices of genetic medicine, however, this article suggests a quite different picture; one that does not erase, but helps to keep in play, some crucial tenets of humanism. The article examines how the genetic clinic constructs clinical pictures as new forms of portraiture: assemblages in which multiple and heterogeneous images of bodies and their parts are juxtaposed. Rather than these portraits just making the distributed and hybrid nature of personhood explicit, shifts in ground mean that what is being portrayed is the possibility of a ‘syndrome–genotype’ relation. At first sight this appears as a straightforward geneticization of the body and the unravelling of the figure of the individual. But the article illustrates how, at the same time as the portraits of syndrome–genotypes are made up of many heterogeneous parts, the clinic still keeps in play an idea of persons that remains, unlike their bodies, much more than the sum of their parts. All the parts that make up the body of the person can still, at moments, be transcended, to refigure the human: the complex individual of humanist thought.

    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13477160   open full text
  • Animal and Sexual Differences: Kelly Oliver's Continental Bestiary.
    Turner, L.
    Body & Society. March 19, 2013

    This review article examines Kelly Oliver’s recent book, Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human. It has two particular points of focus: Oliver's development of Jacques Derrida’s writing on the ‘animal question’ in light of the expansion of critical animal studies more generally, and Oliver’s specific development of the relations between sexual differences and animal differences.

    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13477162   open full text
  • Neither Body nor Brain: Comparing Preventive Attitudes to Prostate Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease.
    Leibing, A., Kampf, A.
    Body & Society. March 19, 2013

    This article compares health promotion attitudes towards prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Our aim is to demonstrate that these two apparently distinct conditions of the aging body – one affecting the male reproductive system, the other primarily the brain – are addressed in similar fashion in recent public health activities because of a growing emphasis on a ‘cardiovascular logic’. We suggest that this is a form of reductionism, and argue that it leaves us with a dangerous paradox: while re-transcending, at least partially, the conceptual separation of body and brain, it clouds much-needed discussion and research, such as contingent issues of socio-economic and socio-cultural disease disparities.

    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13477163   open full text
  • Cooking is Good to Think.
    Sutton, D.
    Body & Society. March 19, 2013

    The three books under review here represent the recent efflorescence of diverse approaches to a previously neglected topic: the anthropology of cooking. By examining cooking through the lens of biological anthropology and differing cultural anthropological approaches, the books together make a strong case for the centrality of in-depth analysis of cooking to issues of gender, and to social change and evolutionary change. As Lévi-Strauss long ago recognized, this review reaffirms the notion that cooking is "good to think" about many of the topics that preoccupy our contemporary academic studies.

    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13477458   open full text
  • The Hoarding Economy of Endometrial Stem Cell Storage.
    Fannin, M.
    Body & Society. March 19, 2013

    The proliferation of for-profit enterprises offering stem cell storage services for personal use illustrates one of the ways health is increasingly governed through uncertainty and speculative notions of risk. Without any firm guarantee of therapeutic utility, commercial stem cell banks offer to store a range of bodily tissues, signalling the further transformation of the living body into an accumulation strategy within biotechnology capitalism’s ‘tissue economies’. This article makes two related claims: first, it suggests that specifically gendered forms of identification with the leading edge of the bioeconomy are embedded in the speculative practices of commercial stem cell banking and are particularly visible in the recent creation of a banking service for endometrial tissue marketed directly to women. Second, the article offers a novel analytic through which to explore the commercial banking of one’s own bodily tissues (or ‘autologous’ banking) through Marx’s discussion of money hoarding. The aim of the article is to thus further the conceptual claims linking emergent forms of economic and biomedical subjectivity to transformations in biotechnology capital.

    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13479147   open full text
  • Doing Wholeness, Producing Subjects; Kinesiological Sensemaking and Energetic Kinship.
    Grunenberg, K., Hillersdal, L., Walker, H. K., Boelsbjerg, H. B.
    Body & Society. March 19, 2013

    This article is concerned with the ways in which bodies and subjects are enacted and negotiated in the encounter between client and practitioner within specialized kinesiology – a specific complementary and alternative medical practice. In the article we trace the ideas of connections and disconnections, which are conceptualized and practised within kinesiology. We attempt to come to grips with these specific notions of relatedness through the introduction of the concept ‘energetic kinship’ and to relate them to more general discussions about the nature of subjects, bodies and social identity in late modern society. We argue that through the particular approach to the body as a prime locus of knowledge on which kinesiological treatment practices are based, kinesiology offers clients an alternative understanding of being-in-the-world. The understanding of the body as the locus of knowledge might, on the one hand, potentially alleviate the individual from the weight of a late modern focus on self-responsible, rational and autonomous individuality, while, on the other hand, it simultaneously supports this understanding. Hence, we argue that kinesiology operates with a subject which is both inherently related and individual at the same time, and that these particular understandings may be appealing in a world in which health and illness are increasingly seen as a question of individual responsibility. The article was written on the basis of interviews and participant observation among kinesiological teachers and practitioners in Denmark.

    March 19, 2013   doi: 10.1177/1357034X13479146   open full text