Embodiment, experience and theory. In defence of the sociological tradition

Shilling, Chris (2001) Embodiment, experience and theory. In defence of the sociological tradition. Sociological Review, 49 (3). pp. 327-344. ISSN 0038-0261. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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This paper examines whether the theoretical analyses and ambitions of sociologists of the body are increasingly making obstructive and irrelevant the subject boundaries and methodological conventions associated with their parent discipline. Concerns about the utility of the discipline have been expressed by a number of body studies emanating from within and outside of sociology. These imply that it is necessary to reject the dominant problematic of sociology and utilise non disciplinary resources if we are to understand issues surrounding the 'lived experience' of embodiment. In opposing this rejection of sociology, if not the use of other intellectual resources, I argue that the discipline contains much valuable theorising about experience which has yet to be developed by body theorists. Many of sociology's central concepts, indeed, evoke dimensions of human experience that remain highly pertinent to an understanding of the individual and societal significance of the body in the contemporary era. In order to illustrate this argument, I focus on the writings of Durkheim and Simmel. Their work is rarely central to,writings on the body, but provides good examples of the diversity of theoretical approaches within sociology that remain relevant to body theorists. Specifically, I want to use it to develop the outlines of a theory of embodiment as a medium for the constitution of society which has at its centre a concern with human experience. I conclude by reassessing the strategic options sociologists of the body confront in developing their analyses.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Chris Shilling
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2009 12:41
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2014 15:10
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/3959 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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