By Nick Crossley
During this booklet, Nick Crossley explores the concept that of reflexive embodiment – how we, as embodied beings, replicate upon our personal embodiment. He considers the ways that we change and keep bodies, from brushing our tooth and washing our faces via to tattooing and bodybuilding. a few different types of ‘body paintings’ are demanded by way of social conventions; others signify valid offerings, and others nonetheless deviate from or withstand the norm. He argues right figuring out of reflexive embodiment needs to be alert to those transformations, and that we needs to have fun with that bodies usually are not passive or inert ingredients that we will be able to mold as we love. they alter in ways in which we don't intend and of which we're not acutely aware, they usually may possibly turn out tough to alter within the methods we do intend.
Many theorists in sociology provide views at the hyperlink among society and physique amendment, generally concentrated in a single method or one other upon ‘modernity’. Reflexive Embodiment in modern Society stories this literature, evaluates competing claims and indicates an alternate method. Nick Crossley contends that current views are very selective within the diversity of amendment practices they concentration upon and of their belief of either modernity and its results upon the physique. whereas numerous theories establish clusters of amendment practices and hyperlink them to points of modernity, there was no systematic try and mix those partial money owed right into a coherent imaginative and prescient. This ebook offers the sort of imaginative and prescient and gives a huge contribution to the sociology of the physique.
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Extra resources for Reflexive Embodiment in Contemporary Society
Finally, Elias refers to the increasing complexity and differentiation of society. On one level what concerns him here is the generic demand for selfcontrol in modern societies. He notes, for example, how precarious the act of walking down a busy modern street is for an individual, such as an infant, who lacks full self-control. Compared to medieval villages, modern towns are death traps which call for split-second regulation of conduct. Likewise, in a fascinating discussion of time, he observes how medieval individuals could orient their lives around the broad temporal markers of dawn and dusk, winter and summer, whilst their modern equivalent will miss their bus if they are even 30 seconds late (Elias 1992).
This undermines their distinguishing function, such that newer and more `civilized' manners have to be devised, which again filter through and so on. This is accelerated to the degree that civilized elites both come to believe in their new civilized ethos, and thus wish to educate the `barbarians' in the classes below, and need or want the lower orders to recognize their markers of distinction. The lower orders, who are sometimes the intended targets for displays of sophisticated demonstrations of grace, manners and so on, will not be suitably impressed unless they have learned to recognize refinement, but to the extent that they have they are already `catching up', thus ratcheting up the baseline of civilized decorum.
External control is not the only way in which human conduct is constrained, however. We internalize norms and assume responsibility for controlling our own actions. The civilizing process, according to Elias's later work, consists in a gradual shift in the balance between external and internal loci of control, in favour of the latter. The hallmark of the civilizing process is the gradual replacement of external by internal controls. We find this same claim in Elias's earlier (1994) formulations but the earlier work is centred, empirically, upon a shift in standards of manners and politeness as revealed through a comparison of etiquette books from different points in the Middle Ages and early modern period.