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Body Reader: Essential Social and Cultural Readings

by Lisa Jean Moore and Mary Kosut New York University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 432 pages
AU$79.00 NZ$82.61
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Plastic surgery, obesity, anorexia, pregnancy, prescription drugs, disability, piercings, steroids, and sex re-assignment surgery: over the past two decades there have been major changes in the ways we understand, treat, alter, and care for our bodies. The Body Reader is a compelling, cutting-edge, and timely collection that provides a close look at the emergence of the study of the body.

From prenatal genetic testing and "t;manscaping"; to televideo cybersex and the “meth economy,” this innovative work digs deep into contemporary lifestyles and current events to cover key concepts and theories about the body. A combination of twenty one classic readings and original essays, the contributors highlight gender, race, class, ability, and sexuality, paying special attention to bodies that are at risk, bodies that challenge norms, and media representations of the body. Ultimately, The Body Reader makes it clear that the body is not neutral—it is the entry point into cultural and structural relationships, emotional and subjective experiences, and the biological realms of flesh and bone.

Contributors: Patricia Hill Collins, Karen Dias, H. Hugh Floyd, Jr., Arthur Frank, Sander L. Gilman, Gillian Haddow, Richard Huggins, Matthew Immergut, Lea Kent, Kristen Karlberg, Steve Kroll-Smith, Mary Kosut, Jarvis Jay Masters, Lisa Jean Moore, Tracey Owens Patton, William J. Peace, Jason Pine, Eric Plemons, Barbara Katz Rothman, Edward Slavishak, Phillip Vannini, and Dennis Waskul.

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Not Just the Reflexive Reflex: 1
Flesh and Bone in the Social Sciences
Mary Kosut and Lisa Jean Moore
Part I Vulnerable Bodies
1 The Body's Problems with Illness 31
Arthur Frank
2 Laboring Now: Current Cultural Constructions of 48
Pregnancy, Birth, and Mothering
Barbara Katz Rothman
3 Am I Good Enough for My Family? 66
Fetal Genetic Bodies and Prenatal Genetic Testing
Kristen Karlberg
4 Assume the Position: The Changing Contours of Sexual Violence 80
Patricia Hill Collins
5 The Phenomenology of Death, Embodiment, and 108
Organ Transplantation
Gillian Haddow
6 Chemically Reactive Bodies, Knowledge, and Society 124
Steve Kroll-Smith and H. Hugh Floyd Jr.
Part II Bodies as Mediums
7 "Made by the Work": 147
A Century of Laboring Bodies in the United States
Ed Slavishak
8 Embodied Capitalism and the Meth Economy 164
Jason Pine
viii Contents
9 Extreme Bodies/Extreme Culture 184
Mary Kosut
10 The Racial Nose 201
Sander L. Gilman
11 To Die For: The Semiotic Seductive Power of the Tanned Body 228
Phillip Vannini and Aaron M. McCright
12 The Naked Self: Being a Body in Televideo Cybersex 252
Dennis D. Waskul
Part III Extraordinary Bodies
13 Manscaping: The Tangle of Nature, Culture, and Male Body Hair 287
Matthew Immergut
14 Incongruent Bodies: Teaching While Leaking 305
Lisa Jean Moore
15 Envisioning the Body in Relation: Finding Sex, Changing Sex 317
Eric Plemons
16 Scars 329
Jarvis Jay Masters
17 Slippery Slopes: Media, Disability, and Adaptive Sports 332
William J. Peace
Part IV Bodies in Media
18 Hey Girl, Am I More Than My Hair? African American Women 349
and Their Struggles with Beauty, Body Image, and Hair
Tracey Owens Patton
19 Fighting Abjection: Representing Fat Women 367
Le'a Kent
20 Images of Addiction: The Representation of Illicit Drug 384
Use in Popular Media
Richard Huggins
21 The Ana Sanctuary: Women's Pro-Anorexic Narratives in Cyberspace 399
Karen Dias
List of Contributors 413
Index 417

“This collection of essays provides a rich smorgasbord of scholarly approaches to the body, its many meanings and experiences. For readers who want to savor the inter-disciplinarity of this exciting genre of cultural studies, this is an important book to read and have on your shelf.”
-Joan Jacobs Brumberg,author of The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls

"The Body Reader provides an excellent series of in-depth discussions of important issues that are realted to body image and personal identity, as well as of social and cultural perceptions and values. The presentations are definitive, refreshingly original , insightful, and well written. The interdisciplinary approaches to this important topic have been skillfully blended and organized by the editors. This is a theoretically important set of readings that deserves a wide readership among a wide variety of behavioral and biological scientists."
-James A. Moses Jr.,American Psychological Association

"The attention on the body has been growing in the academic discourse over the last years, and The Body Reader...contributes to it greatly."
-Metapsychology Online Reviews

The Body Reader makes you want to sit down immediately and browse, and the reading pays off. The essays are wide-ranging, and each covers its topic with scope and depth. Covering theory, praxis, and critique, this anthology is sure to be a favorite for courses in sociology of the body, disability studies, and a variety of women’s/gender studies subjects, including science and technology. I highly recommend it!”

-Judith Lorber,author of Breaking the Bowls: Degendering and Feminist Change

"Anyone looking for a research idea or seeking inspiration to write about her or his own embodiment from a scholarly perpective is likely to find it in The Body Reader. This reader is a fascinating read."
-Joan C. Chrisler, Jennifer Bessette,Springer Science and Business Media Journal

“A powerful exploration of the many ways that bodies and embodiment matter. The editors have carefully selected a mix of classic and original articles, and their section introductions alone will prove an invaluable resource for researchers and teachers. This smart collection is certain to shape the interdisciplinary field of body studies.”
-Janice Irvine,author of Disorders of Desire: Sexuality and Gender in Modern American Sexology

Lisa Jean Moore is Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies and Coordinator of Gender Studies at Purchase College, State University of New York. She is author of Sperm Counts: Overcome by Man’s Most Precious Fluid, co-author of Missing Bodies: The Politics of Visibility , and co-editor of the forthcoming collection The Body Reader (all from NYU Press).

Mary Kosut is Assistant Professor of Media, Society and the Arts at Purchase College, State University of New York.