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The Social Body

The Social Body
Habit, Identity and Desire

First Edition

176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This book explores both the embodied nature of social life and the social nature of human bodily life. It provides an accessible review of the contemporary social science debates on the body, and develops a coherent new perspective.

Nick Crossley critically reviews the literature on mind and body, and also on the body and society. He draws on theoretical insights from the work of Gilbert Ryle, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead and Pierre Bourdieu, and shows how the work of these writers overlaps in interesting and important ways which, when combined, provide the basis for a persuasive and robust account of human embodiment.

The Social Body provides a timely review of the theoretical approaches to the sociology of the body. It offers new insights, and a coherent new perspective on the body.

Mind-Body Dualism
Investigating Descartes' Ghost

All in the Brain?
A Popular False Start

Beyond Dualism
Exorcising Descartes' Ghost

Meaning, Action and Desire
A Preliminary Sketch of Embodied Agency

Habitus, Capital and Field
Embodiment in Bourdieu's Theory of Practice

Habit, Incorporation and the Corporeal Schema
Reflexive Embodiment
Being, Having and Difference


Nick Crossley

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