Regulating Bodies: Essays in Medical Sociology by Professor Bryan S Turner, Visit Amazon's Bryan S. Turner

By Professor Bryan S Turner, Visit Amazon's Bryan S. Turner Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Bryan S. Turner,

Bryan Turner is mostly said to were the main determine in establishing up the sociological debate concerning the physique. during this coruscating and engaging booklet he indicates how his pondering at the topic has built and why sociologists needs to take the physique heavily.

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That is, human beings experience themselves as entities that are not wholly identical with bodies but, on the contrary, have those bodies at their disposal (Berger and Luckmann 1967:48). From a phenomenological point of view, we can make a distinction between having a body, doing a body and being a body. For example, we often experience the body as an alien environment in which our body appears as something over which we do not have control. ‘It’ is experienced as part of our environment. In diseased states, this experience of having a body is often prominent where the body appears as an objective and external environment (Herzlich and Pierret 1987).

This combination of dimensions was developed classically by Parsons as a critique of economics (Robertson and Turner 1989). Anthony Giddens’s ‘structuration theory’ (Giddens 1984) is in many respects very different from Parsons’s ‘voluntaristic theory of action’, because, where Parsons was concerned to understand how values are shared (by the processes of internalization and socialization), Giddens has been concerned to understand human action in terms of its reflexivity. Human action is primarily self-monitoring action; human beings cannot avoid the constant confrontation of choice.

It is also not clear whether this reflexively mobilized body is specific to modernity. We have already seen how Foucault analysed the reflexive importance of the body in Greek medical ethics and in Stoical philosophers from Roman times. We could also mention the much neglected figure of Benjamin Nelson who traced the origins of this body-self reflexivity to the origins of the confessional self in medieval religious practices, such as confession (Nelson 1981). Turning from sociology in general to the specific area of medical sociology (or more accurately the sociology of health and illness), I have argued in Chapter 5 that a sociology of the body is a fundamental basis for the theoretical of medical sociology.

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