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SOC101Y1 (470)
Chapter 18

SOC101Y1 Chapter 18: Week 18 Reading: The Body & Health

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Christian O.Caron

The Body - is not just biology, immutability is an error of a belief - Immutability: the idea that our bodies are something we have inherited, fully made up by genes and thus not a product of society - How we manage our bodies is learnt while how others see us is also the product of common expectation Bodies as a Task: something to work on which requires daily care and attention - Once working on our body has been formed, society sets the standards for a desirable and approved shape - Our bodies are the objects of social conditioning Body as a site of Anxiety: watch what they eat, drink, and breathe - As a result we have a whole industry and set of marketing techniques that are part of the discourses of the body - Ie. foods that are “good” or “bad” for us Body as a site of Pleasure: - As a result, we have an industry that prompts us to seek sensation and exciting experiences - Feeling good by shopping, what we buy defined who we are Discrimination based on the Body - Failure to comply with standards can induce feelings of shame - Bodies are the objects of social conditioning Pursuit of Health and Fitness - Health is about balance - Fitness is pushing oneself ever further Body as object of Desire: - is always on display and people tend to judge by what they can see - What we look like create and form first impressions Enhancement of one’s body image to conform to prevailing norms have become especially important - Socially: urbanized societies present people with many more opportunities to meet and interact with strangers and have created desire in people to transform their body - Technologically: created technologies to transform the body - Economically: industrialized societies enable people to afford technologies that transform their body Disability: the physical or health condition that reduces a person’s ability to perform tasks they would normally do at a given stage of life within range of “normal” human activity - Given determination of normal and deficient is subjective thus disability is socially constructed Rehabilitation Historical Perspective - Curing Disabilities: possibilities through medical and technological intervention - Improve Lives: with disabilities by the means of care, training, and education; integration of people with disabilities into society - Elimination of Disability: altogether by killing people who had a disability or sterilizing them and preventing them from having children Disability in Contemporary Society - About 4.4 million or 14% of Canadians have one or more physical or mental disabilities - Number is increasing: 1. Advances in medical technology 2. People live longer 3. Persons born with serious disabilities are more likely to survive infancy 4. People are now more willing to report disabilities Ableism: prejudice and discrimination against people who have disabilities - Neglects conditions of people with disabilities - Exists through both intentional behaviour and neglect - recently, people with disabilities have begun to organize themselves and assert normality of disability, and form communities of people with disabilities - Normality of Disability: people with disabilities have begun to assert their autonomy and dignity of difference, challenging ableism - Insisting on self-help - Instead of seeing disability as a personal tragedy, they see it as a social problem Shameless:The ART of Disability - Tracks 5 disabled people with multi-faceted self-representation, shows the everyday complexities and unexpected richness of life with a visible and invisible disability Sociology of Mental Illness - 1970s-1980s: several political debates among psychiatrists about what constituted a psychiatric disorder - Demedicalization: removal of homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder because the result of gay and lesbian activists, who sought to destigmatize homosexuality Health: state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being - Not depend on solely on the absence of disease or sickness - Socially defined and therefore varies over time and between cultures Historical Perspective - 200 years ago - People divided the age spectrum into babyhood, a very short childhood and then adulthood Ageism: prejudice and discrimination against people on the basis of age - found especially towards older people - Factors of ageism - Lack of knowledge about aging - Lack of interaction among cohorts - Younger people’s fear of their own future - People with more education are able to avoid or postpone disability to a greater extent than those with less education - Those with university degrees often feel healthy and function will into their 60s, 70s, and 80s - One’s social class, age, gender, race, ethnicity all contribute
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