Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
“The body,” in this entry, refers to the human body and relates to the concept of the person or human subject. In political theory, human subjects have always been assumed to be embodied and therefore subject to birth and death, to physical requirements of survival, and to further bodily needs and pleasures over and above subsistence. The body has thus been a locus of more or less explicit assumptions in relation to politics, which then necessarily take place in a realm of minds and ideas, albeit in interaction with the material world, including human bodies. By contrast, sociobiological approaches to politics take the opposite view by locating behavior in bodily mechanisms of human genetic inheritance and then purportedly explaining on that basis why politics is necessary and how it should proceed. However, through the work of Michel Foucault, the body has become a focus of study in a different way, ...