SOC101 NOTES- The Body
Body: not just biologically but socially defined (enhancing one’s body to conform to prevailing
norms); how we manage our bodies is learnt; the shape of our bodies and the way it is dressed
are messages to others; our bodies are objects of social conditioning; body is a site of both
anxiety and pleasure and can be an object of desire as well.
Perks: found that height has a bigger effect on income than whether one is an immigrant or a
member of visible minority group; for most people
Height is an indicator of status; poverty encourages obesity; likelihood of being overweight
increases with age and decreases with class and education.
• Socially, manipulating body image helps improve social interaction in complex societies.
• Economically, industrialized societies enable people to afford body enhancement.
• Technologically, new techniques for transfiguring the body are created.
Impaired: people are considered deficient in physical or mental capacity.
Disability: physical or mental problem that keeps people from performing within the range of
“normal” human activity; definitions of disability differ across societies and historical periods;
“normal” and “deficient” is subjective, thus disability is socially constructed.
Rehabilitation: curing disabilities through medical intervention; trying to improve lives of people
with disabilities by means of care, training and education; integrating people with disabilities into
society. In the worst case, others tried to kill those with disabilities or sterilize them to prevent
Ableism: prejudice and discrimination against people who have disabilities, including neglect.
• Changing ableism: people with disabilities begun to assert their autonomy and “dignity of
difference”. For some, they insist on self-help and for others, it means disability is a
social problem rather than a personal tragedy.
• Shameless: The ART of disability is a movie that shows multi-faceted self-
representations, everyday complexities and unexpected richness of life with a visible and
Demedicalization: condition that has been considered a disorder ceasing to be labelled as
such (ex: homosexuality).
Recent challenges to traditional medical science: patient activism, alternative medicine and
Health: state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being (defined by WHO); however,
health does not depend solely on the absence of sickness because health is socially defined
and thus varies over time and between cultures.
Aging: process of socialization or learning new roles appropriate to different stages of life;
people with education feel healthy and function well as they grow older. Rites of passage: cultural ce