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By John O'Neill

Five our bodies bargains an advent to a few of the main pressing modern matters in the sociology of the physique.

The e-book used to be first released in 1985 within the united states through Cornell collage Press, and was once nominated for the toilet Porter Award (sponsored by means of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association). A course breaking booklet, it provided a framework for the turning out to be box of the sociology of the physique and unfolded 'the physique' for sociological examine.

This re-creation (the past variation was once released by means of Cornell college Press (1985) has been considerably revised and up-to-date to handle state-of-the-art problems with the physique in glossy existence, neighborhood and politics.

John O'Neill examines how embodied selves and relationships are being re-shaped and re-figured and the way the embodied figures of the polity, financial system and society signify the contested notions of id, wish, wholeness and fragmentation. He focuses upon these cultural practices wherein we map our macro-micro worlds:

· articulating a cosmology

· a physique politic

· a productivensumptive economy

· a bio-technological frontier of human layout and transplantation

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Extra resources for Five Bodies: Re-figuring Relationships

Example text

To put it from the other side, we may very well admit the basic phenomenon of organic asymmetry. Most people are righthanded, and relatively few are left-handed – by nature, as we say – while others seem to be ambidextrous, educable to either side. Yet these facts are not sufficient to take account of the massive social preference for the right side over the left. In short, there is a pervasive dualist symbolism to which the right and left hand are assimilated as part of the world’s order: How could man’s body, the microcosm, escape the law of polarity which governs everything?

Harris, 1978: 154) I cannot close off this controversy without bringing it into the orbit of the structuralist approach to the categorization of human beings, animals, and food. I do so in only the simplest fashion and more with a view to providing Harris’s opponent, Marshall Sahlins (1976), with a voice than to entering into the labyrinths of Lévi-Strauss’s thought (Leach, 1970). It is tempting to see in Harris’s thesis a strong version of the materialist arguments that might characterize a Marxist anthropology.

The whole matter may be dismissed as nothing but silly superstition or else quickly disposed of with a little knowledge of brain science. The latter settles the issue in the functional asymmetry of the brain, the dominance of the left side of the brain being responsible for the dominance of the right hand. In this case, as with so many other sociological phenomena, the competing accounts are themselves social phenomena. Curiously enough, the sneaking suspicion that we are dealing with superstition and not science is on the right track, despite its own deference toward science as the explanatory key.

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