BSocSc Sociology / Course details
Year of entry: 2018
Course unit details:
Sociology of the Body
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
The body is a relatively recent field of study in sociology, and this module will start by considering why sociology neglected to study the body for a long time. Thereafter it will consider some important theoretical approaches to understanding bodies sociologically; particular ideas about the 'social construction' of the body and ideas about the cultural and social history of the body. These theoretical approaches will lay the foundations for the introduction to more substantive issues, including the contemporary concern over body size (whether too thin or too fat); cosmetic surgery, tattoos and other body modification techniques; ways of dressing and presenting the body; the fragmentation of bodies into body parts; transgender; the masculine body and issues around ageing and disabled bodies. The substantive topics, in particular, may change as new developments emerge in the field.
- Introduce students to sociological ways of understanding ‘the body’ and its significance in contemporary society, and thus allow them to gain specialist expertise on this field of inquiry
- Introduce students to different theoretical approaches to studying the body sociologically as well as substantive areas of study
- Examine ideas around the mind/body split and explore critically the idea that bodies are given in nature
- Examine the extent to which bodies are socially constructed and hence gendered, classed and raced
- Address the various ways in which bodies are regulated and shaped in contemporary life
- Apply their knowledge of sociological theory of the body to enable them to recognise the nature of sociological questions in this field
- Appreciate, understand and interpret the complexity of the role of the body in society, including conducting sociological analysis of diverse aspects of the body, e.g. the masculine body and body modifications
- Reason critically about the notion of a mind/body split and analyse the idea that bodies are given in nature. This for example through the study of disabled bodies, body transgressions and the ageing body
- Develop a coherent analysis of a substantive topic, e.g. body parts
- Develop skills in communication and presentation and engage constructively and effectively with others through workshop participation and especially group work based presentations
- Interpret and critically evaluate evidence about society and the body using a variety of sources
Teaching and learning methods
Weekly 1 x 3 hour workshop. The course will utilise Blackboard 9 in delivering the module’s course content, core readings, lecture slides, supplementary material including films, and communication.
|Written assignment (inc essay)||50%|
Informal feedback will be given on the non-assessed essay plan due before the essay, plus formal feedback will be given on the assessed essay.
Bordo, S. (1993), Unbearable Weight, Introduction. University of California Press
Featherstone, M. et al (2001) The Body. Sage
Howson, A. (2005) The Body in Society: An Introduction. Polity
Turner, B. (2008, 3rd edition) The Body and Society. Sage
Low, J. and Malacrida. C. (2008) Sociology of the Body: A Reader. Oxford University Press.
Cregan, K (2012) Key Concepts in Body and Society. Sage.
Moore, L. J. and Casper, M. (2014) The Body: Social and Cultural Dissections. Routledge.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Nick Crossley||Unit coordinator|