You are here

The Body and Society
Share

The Body and Society
Explorations in Social Theory

Third Edition


April 2008 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"This truly deserves to be considered a classic and I strongly encourage my students to read it from cover to cover. Turner's work on the body needs to be considered in its own right within courses on the sociology of the body."
- Dr Robert Meadows, Surrey University

"Remains the foundational text for courses in the sociology of the body, replete with insights and a depth of analysis that has largely inspired an entire new area of studies across the social sciences."
- Dr Michael Drake, Hull University

"This is THE contemporary text for both academics and students exploring the sociology of the body."
- Jessica Clark, University Campus Suffolk

This is a fully revised edition of a book that may fairly claim to have re-opened the sociology of the body as a legitimate area of enquiry. Providing an unparalleled guide to all aspects of the subject, each chapter has been revised and updated while the book contains new material that reflects both recent changes in the field and Turner's developing position on the centrality of vulnerability.

Assured and innovative, this book provides the most authoritative statement of work on the sociology of the body by one of the leading writers in the field.

 
Introduction to the Third Edition
Virtue and the Body: The Debate over Nature and Nurture

 
 
Chapter 1: The Mode of Desire
Vulnerability and Values

 
Needs and Desires

 
Wisdom and Friendship

 
The Mode of Desire

 
Asceticism

 
Desire and Reason

 
Homo Duplex

 
Play and Pleasure

 
Capitalist Bodies

 
 
Chapter 2: Sociology and the Body
Absent Bodies

 
The Self

 
Michel Foucault

 
Spirit and Flesh

 
Sociology of the Body

 
Locations for a Theory

 
Critical Theory

 
Structuralism

 
Foucault and the Origins of Sociology

 
Phenomenology

 
The Person

 
 
Chapter 3: The Body and Religion
Capitalism, Desire, Rationality

 
Sickness, Salvation and Medicine

 
Medical Ethics and the Medical Fee

 
Medicine as a Secular Practice

 
Capitalism and the Body

 
 
Chapter 4: Bodily Order
Hobbesian Materialism

 
Neo-Hobbesian Problem of Order

 
Reproduction

 
Restraint

 
Regulation

 
Representation

 
 
Chapter 5: Eve's Body
Nature/Culture Argument

 
The Property Argument

 
Patriarchal Relations

 
The Feudal System

 
Individualism

 
Witchcraft

 
An Argument for Divorce

 
 
Chapter 6: The End of Patriarchy?
The Dominant Ideology Thesis

 
Patriarchalism

 
Weber on Patriarchy

 
Engels on Patriarchy

 
Feminist Theory

 
The Household in Capitalism

 
Patrism

 
 
Chapter 7: The Disciplines
Foucault, Language, Desire

 
The Accumulation of Men

 
Asceticism

 
Dietary Management

 
Table Practices

 
The Critique of Foucault

 
 
Chapter 8: Government of the Body
A Mode of Living

 
The Orgy and the Fast

 
On Disease

 
Man is What He Eats

 
Sensualism

 
Body Practices

 
Contradictions

 
Corsets

 
Women's Complaints

 
Calculating Hedonism

 
 
Chapter 9: Disease and Disorder
Disease versus Illness

 
On the Specialization of Sin, Disease and Deviance

 
Secularization

 
Medical Morality

 
Doctors, Women and Sexuality

 
Culture and Disease

 
 
Chapter 10: Ontology of Difference
Marx's Ontology

 
The Body in Nature and the Nature in the Body

 
Nietzsche versus Marx

 
The Body and Difference

 
Body Paradoxes

 
 
Chapter 11: Bodies in Motion - Towards an Aesthetic of Dance
The Experience of Aura

 
Defining Dance

 
Dance and Modernism

 
Conclusion: The Stuff of Dance

 
 
Chapter 12: The Body and Boredom - The New Longevity
The Body and Metaphysics

 
Technology and Living Forever

 
Body and Soul

 
The Elixir of Life

 
Sociology of Ageing

 
Boredom and the Theology of Prolongevity

 
 
Chapter 13: Epilogue - Vulnerability and Values
Embodiment, Vulnerability and Frailty

 
Human Rights: Frailty, Precariousness and Interconectedness

 
The Metaphors of Sociability

 
Evil and the Theological Turn

 
Forgiveness or Revenge?

 

The Body And Society is now better than ever. … Turner bridges the organic and cultural with his philosophical and theological aspirations: the result is a penetrating analysis of society's blend of bodies - from erotic to famished bodies, labouring to desiring bodies
Anthony Elliott
Flinders University


Bryan Turner has revolutionized the way in which we think about ourselves and our bodies. This edition … demonstrates further intellectual growth and development; innovative ideas inform an already classic understanding. The human body is the very material of our lives; this book allows us to deepen our knowledge of the meanings of the body in the twenty-first century and offers a definitive and emancipatory account of the possibilities (both negative and positive) with which we are presented and which we construct for ourselves
Mary Evans
London School of Economics


Any course on the Sociology of the Body without Bryan Turner's text on The Body and Society is impoverished!

Dr Bethany Simmonds
Social, Historical & Literary Studies, Portsmouth University
September 20, 2016

Along with Chris Shilling's The Body and Social Theory I would recommend The Body and Society to any student studying the body. Next year there are likely to be significant changes to the module and I will be making this book an essential text.

Mr Michael Rees
Business and Social Science, University of Wales
October 29, 2013

An excellent book which will help the learner gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Miss Ali Manion
Health , Swindon College
February 13, 2013

This is THE contemporary text for both academics and students exploring the sociology of the body. Imaginative and insightful discussions are organised into a cohesive and exemplary whole.

Miss Jessica Clark
School of Applied Social Science, University Campus Suffolk
June 25, 2011

Remains the foundational text for courses in the sociology of the body, replete with insights and a depth of analysis that has largely inspired an entire new area of studies across the social sciences. Turner weaves his original theorisation adeptly through a critical assessment of a very wide rage of analytical approaches, which he brings together uniquely in this singular groundbreaking text.

Dr Michael Drake
Criminology & Sociological Studies, Hull University
January 26, 2011

This truly deserves to be considered a classic and I strongly encourage my students to read it from cover to cover. Turner's work on the body needs to be considered in its own right within courses on the sociology of the body and this book should form a key part of any such sessions.

Dr Robert Meadows
Sociology, Surrey University
September 15, 2010

The course content did not permit as detailed a discussion of the body as previously anticipated - however, I will be recommending the volume for a module on the body to be introduced in 2011.
The voulme was useful, covering a variety of relevant issues, although the first year students (who I am currently pitching at) might find some of the concepts and language a little intimidating. I have recommended the volume as an additional text so that those interested in the topic can pursue it in detail.

Dr Steven Jones
Media, Northumbria University
August 23, 2010

Revised and updated throughout, the Third Edition includes:

A brand new introduction.

New chapters on 'Bodies in Motion', 'The Body and Boredom', and 'Vulnerability and Values'.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One PDF


Preview this book

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option


Paperback
ISBN: 9781412929875
£36.99

Hardcover
ISBN: 9781412929868
£108.00

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.