Embodied practices: feminist perspectives on the body

(ed.)
Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications (1997)
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Abstract

This book focuses on the significance of the body in contemporary feminist scholarship. Whether the body is treated as biological bedrock or subversive metaphor, it is implicated in the cultural and historical construction of sexual difference as well as asymmetrical power relations. The contributors to this volume examine the role of the body as socially shaped and historically colonized territory and as the focus of individual womenÆs struggles for autonomy and self-determination. They also analyze its centrality to the feminist critique of male-stream science as dualistic, distanced, and decontextualized. While the body has become a "hot item" in contemporary social theory and research, the renewed interest has received a mixed reaction from feminists. The body may be back, but the "new" body theory often proves to be just as disembodied as it ever was. The body revival seems to be less an attempt to re-embody masculinist science than just another expression of the same condition that evoked the feminist critique in the first place: a flight from femininity and everything that is associated with it in Western culture. Drawing on insights from contemporary feminist theories of gender and power, this book offers a timely critical appraisal of the recent "body revival." Embodied Practices not only sets an agenda for research about the body, but for an embodied perspective on the body as well. It will be a valuable and thought-provoking resource for students of womenÆs studies, social theory, cultural studies, and medical sociology.

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