Sociology of the Body

What do bodies tell us about ourselves and about others? Does our speaking voice show our class background? Why might someone who is “black” or “white” in the United States not be considered so in another country? Who decides what a healthy body is? In this course, we will look at the body, not simply as a physical object, but as a physical medium that is molded by social forces and interpreted through a cultural lens. Our bodies are simultaneously sites of personal embodiment and subject to external classification and social control. We will examine some of the ways bodies are significant markers of social categories, analyzing the link between the body and personal identity, and consider how identity is enacted through bodily practices and modification.

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