Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: March 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939645 | Print ISBN: 9781412916080 | Online ISBN: 9781412939645 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 68: The Sociology of the Body
BRYAN S. TURNER
The sociology of the body The body is a contested and problematic feature of modern societies, giving rise to the view that we live in a “somatic society” (Turner 1992). The political and cultural complexity of the modern notion of the body is a product of changes in the medical and biological sciences and their application to, for example, human reproduction. It is also a consequence of social movements such as feminism and environmentalism. The result is that many of the most pressing moral problems of the modern world are related to changes in the nature of human embodiment. With stem cell research, it has been claimed that in principle we can live “forever.” In addition, in advanced societies, women in old age can claim an unlimited right to reproduce through assisted reproduction. With the use of drugs (or, metaphorically speaking, “mental steroids”) to enhance brain cells, it is theoretically ...