4
Music and the body

The sociology of the body

In the realm of common sense, the body is paradoxical. At once selfevident and mysterious, biologically 'given' yet modifiable, the body is characterized through contradiction. Exploring these contradictions helps to open many deeper questions concerning the relationship between bodies and the material-cultural settings of their existence. Perhaps the best place to begin is by exploring the questions of where 'body' ends and 'environment' begins. What kind of a line should be drawn, for example, between 'endogenous' and 'exogenous' bodily features?

This definitional conundrum is by no means merely academic. On the contrary, it has bearing upon the very questions that can be posed about bodily matters. In recent years it has been given new impetus through studies that focus on the reflexive relationship between body and society. Calling into question the axiomatic status of 'the' body, and its associated dualisms (mind/body, culture/nature, particular/universal, subject/object), recent perspectives within sociology, history and cultural studies have proposed a conception of the 'body' as a socialized entity, configured at and serving also to demarcate the interstices of nature, culture and technology (Birke 1992a; 1992b; Featherstone et al. 1991; Haraway 1985; Jaggar and Bordo 1992; Turner 1984). These perspectives offer great potential for medical science, but do not square with medical institutions and institutionalized practice as these are currently configured. They interact well with complementary medicine (Sharma 1992), however, through their focus on the body as a construction. This focus shifts away from what the body 'is' (and what can be done 'to' it), to a focus on what the body may become as it is situated within different contexts and viewed from within different terms of reference.

Thinking about the body as a construction involves much more than thinking about how, in the superficial sense, it is 'represented' (see Shilling's critique of social constructionism and body matters, 1993). At

-75-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Music in Everyday Life
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 181

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?