By Emmanuelle Tulle (auth.)

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Extra info for Ageing, the Body and Social Change: Running in Later Life

Sample text

Firstly, a debate has emerged about what might be the most appropriate theoretical framework within which to capture the body as a key social process. Secondly, different bodies associated with particular theoretical standpoints have emerged, located in two broad frames: bodies as object and bodies as subject. As sociology has become embodied, it has increasingly endowed the body with agency. The body is now seen as a key agent in the construction of identity and varied forms of sociality. Another significant part of the literature is the one that purports to make sense of where the discipline has got to and what there is still left to do.

Before exploring whether and how disruptions to social fields might open the door to wider transformations in patterns of social distinction, I want briefly to return to the phenomenological body and its frailty. The disrupted body I have already alluded to Crossley’s (1995, 2001a) call for a carnal sociology of the body. Above I began to outline what opportunities existed to restore agency to the body, through various social practices which variously reflect or unsettle structural relations. By the same token, sensory experience cannot be dismissed as a purely individual experience.

This leads me to the second critical issue: how are we to judge that the deployment of capital via certain modalities of embodiment, including reflexive embodiment, reflects oppression or has potential for meaningful defiance or existing structures of domination? The whole point of this book is to craft a theoretical frame which would precisely guide our understanding of resistant embodiment, at the confluence of the intimate experience of the body and social, cultural and discursive structures.

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