The Body in Culture: The Body Project

  • Helen Thomas


This chapter begins by indicating the ways in which feminism and certain aspects of poststructuralism have impacted on the development of the study of the body in social and cultural theory. Feminists and post-structuralists (in very broad terms) have been critical of and attempted to overcome the problems of dualism inscribed in the western humanist tradition of thought. As discussed later in this chapter, they too may be criticised for contributing further to the dominance of the socially constructed body in social and cultural theory and, therefore, perpetuating the mind/body distinction embedded in Cartesian dualist thought. The chapter concludes by focusing on Nick Crossley’s (1995a) merging of two seemingly different approaches to the body. Crossley appropriates the phenomenological framework of Merleau-Ponty, whose attempts to surmount the mind/body dualism in Cartesian thinking were alluded to in the previous chapter, and combines it with a rereading of Goffman’s (1972) analysis of routine everyday bodily behaviour in public places.


Eating Disorder Cultural Theory Previous Chapter Late Eighteenth Century Consumer Culture 
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© Helen Thomas 2003

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  • Helen Thomas

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