Sociology and Criminology

The Body (Spr)

Module code: L4118B
Level 6
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay

This module addresses a core theoretical question of materiality versus constructionism of the body. You’ll investigate this through a range of substantive case studies, designed to provoke debate and discussion.

You will have the opportunity to explore a range of controversial and intriguing questions that render the body amenable to social scientific analysis. There is an international focus across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

We will consider:

  • debates about bodily materiality and performativity, drawing on authors such as Goffman, Bourdieu, Fanon, Arendt, Butler and Puar
  • state regulation of bodies deemed undesirable (asylum seekers/refugees/non-binary) through the use of torture and maiming
  • the gendered aspects of regulating bodies, such as war rape, torture, nationalism/populism and the sexing of the nation
  • the vulnerability of the body to physical decay and abuse
  • attempts to retake control of the way the body has been subjected to control by states
  • societal debates and activism around identity
  • the rise of rights claims around embodiment.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of classical and contemporary theories of the body.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of case studies rights claims around the body.
  • Apply the theoretical concepts/frameworks covered in the module to empirical examples, in order to critically analyse these examples.
  • Critically assess the dominant conception of the body as socially constructed and engage in the idea of the body as having real, material constraints.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of current political debates from scholarly and non-academic sources