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SOCY 1089 (23)
Lecture

Somatotyping Bodies

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCY 1089
Professor
Sharlene Hesse- Biber
Semester
Fall

Description
SC089.01 (10.22.2013) Somatotyping Bodies Somatotyping bodies and human anatomy ­Articles for today talk about what it means to be a “normal” body and what it  means to “norm” the body ­APCAR test at birth: Measurements determining “health” ­At doctor’s offices: First thing they do is take your weight height, vision,  etc. Second thing they do is tell you whether or not you are in the “normal  range” or what percentile you are Q: What happens when you’re not in the normal range? ­If the doctor tells you you’re overweight, you may change or feel bad ­But what is overweight? Who determines what is normal and what is  deviance from the norm? ­Some of this is medical, of course, but much of it is socially  constructed The Birth of Anthropometry ­Anthropometry: Measurement of humans ­Used to measure living humans in order to understand variation ­Influenced by Darwin ­Used as “scientific proof” of human behaviors and personality ­Cesare Lombroso: Criminal anthropology ­Wanted to identify the body of criminals so you can catch them and lock them up  before they do anything ­Applied this to the justice system in France (1800s) ­Observed anatomical differences of Italian prisoners (to observe the differences  between criminals and non­criminals) ­Identified similarities between madmen and geniuses ­Led in part to the eugenics movement  ­Theory of Atavism: Some individuals devolve into primitive (atavistic) beings ­Critique of Lombroso ­He is locking people up based on how they look. Do we still do this? ­Yes: Consider racial profiling and the rates of incarceration  between ethnic groups, “stop and frisk” policies, etc. ­Faulty research methods ­Racism,
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