By Emmanuelle Tulle (auth.)
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Extra info for Ageing, the Body and Social Change: Running in Later Life
The urge to train and get better becomes embodied to the extent that athletes may sometimes be reluctant to stop training even after they have lost all hope of matching their peak capital as Wainwright and Turner (2003), noted of some ageing ballet dancers. In the process athletes also develop an instrumental relationship to their bodies, which is precisely what enables them to impose on their bodies the discipline and labour required to acquire and maintain capital. It is important to remember Turner’s (2003) analysis that the inherent ephemerality of bodily resources is lifelong and universal.
Such debates have led to calls for a carnal sociology of the body. Towards a carnal sociology of the body Freund (1988) has argued that the sociology of the body has relied too much on a conception of the body as passive and he traces the source of this trend to a misinterpretation of Foucault’s own work on the body. He claims that Foucault’s work should be understood to be about bodies and subjectivity. We should recover from his work the close, active and complex relationship between bodily processes and identity.
A range of “techniques of the body’’ (Mauss 1973) have emerged which allow individuals to work on their bodies, through an “instrumental rational orientation’’ (Featherstone 1982: 24), towards the achievement of appropriate bodily appearance. Consumer culture transformed forms of bodily control derived from medieval ascetic modes of life into “calculated hedonism’’ (p. 18). The achievement of “the look’’ and of the appropriate body shape can be effected not only through the purchase of goods and the use of cosmetic surgery, but also through the pursuit of physical activity and dietary controls.
Ageing, the Body and Social Change: Running in Later Life by Emmanuelle Tulle (auth.)