SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHL324195
Module Leader Emmanuelle Tulle
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

normally successful completion of a Sociology module at level 3

Summary of Content

-360 The module will introduce students to the sociology of the body as a rapidly maturing sub-specialism of Sociology. Once left to the natural sciences, the body has been 'rediscovered' in Sociology. The sociology of the body considers the role played by the body in social location, social action, social change and identity. It relies on a wide range of social and sociological theories. It provides a critical account of bodies as constructed and controlled rather than as merely biological entities, whilst also focusing on the lived experience of bodies. It has given access to modes of embodiment and barriers to agency which had hitherto been excluded from sociological inquiry, including disabled and ageing embodiment, whilst also examining in details how modes of embodiment reflect social location (e.g. gender inequalities). Finally the sociology of the body interrogates the relationship between normative embodiment and wider societal processes, such as commodification, instrumentalisation, globalisation, neoliberalism and medicalisation. The module will appeal to students with an interest in sociology but also students with an interest in the natural sciences and health-related issues.


The embodiment of sociology The three major moments of embodiment The mind/body relationship and the question of identity Embodiment and power The phenomenological turn (Merleau-Ponty) The body and the Civilising Process (Elias) The body as text The body, structure and agency (Bourdieu) Gendered bodies The commodification of bodies - consumption and globalisation The social (re)construction of ageing bodies Bodies in science Resistance and death

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:" Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the body in social action, identity and social change" Identify the key local and global processes which shape normative and resistant embodiment" Understand the role of the mind/body relationship in different historical contexts" Identify key sociological theories which account for embodiment " Examine critically the ability of social actors to control their embodiment

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be delivered in such a way as to develop independent and group scholarship, including research and literature search skills, critical inquiry and broaden the sociological imagination. To this end, the module will rely on a balanced mix of teaching and learning techniques, including traditional lectures, seminar classes and VLE-based discussion groups. Students will be working in groups to examine in detail specific types of embodiment. The students will engage in group discussions in which they will document their strategies for research and the development of their ideas in relation to their project. They will produce a joint multi-media project using VLE. Topics will be available from the module leader, on a first come first served basis. -360

Indicative Reading

-567 Books and articles: Atkinson <>, P., Glasner <>, P. And Lock <>, M. (eds) 2009 . The Handbook of Genetics & Society: Mapping the New Genomic Era, Routledge, London. Crossley, N. 2001. The Social Body: Habit, Identity and Desire , Sage, London. Featherstone, M., Hepworth, M., Turner, B.S., Hepworth, M. & Turner, B.S. 1991, The Body: Social Process and Cultural Theory, Sage, London. Grosz, E. 1994. Volatile Bodies: Toward a corporeal feminism , Routledge, London. Hancock, P. Hughes, B, Jagger, E., Paterson, K., Russell, R. and Tulle-Winton, E. (eds) 2000, The Body, Culture and Society: An introduction , Open University Press, Buckingham. Howson, A. 2013, The Body in Society: An Introduction , 2 nd Edition, Polity, Cambridge. Malacrida, C. and. Low, J. (eds) 2008. Sociology of the Body: A Reader, Oxford University Press. Shildrick, M. 1997. Leaky bodies and boundaries: feminism, postmodernism and (bio)ethics, Routledge, London. Shilling, C. 2012, The Body and Social Theory, 3 RD edition, Sage, London. Tulle, E. 2008, Ageing, the body and social change: running in later life, Palgrave, Basingstoke. Turner, B.S. 2008, The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory, 3 rd edition , Sage, London. Turner, B.S. (ed) 2012. Routledge Handbook of Body Studies, Routledge, London. -567 Online sources: Body & Society, Disability & Society, Sociology, Sociological Review, Theory, Culture & Society, Biosocieties Gorringe, H., Haddow, G., Rafanell, I., Tulle, E . & Yuill, C. (2007) The Transformative Capacity of Embodiment, Edinburgh Working Papers in Sociology, Working Paper No 26, -415

Transferrable Skills

-108 By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Time management Ability to work independently and in groups Critical analysis/reflection on complex contemporary social issues Communication skills using VLE Scholarship and research inquiry-360

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Workshop 12.00
Lectures 12.00
Practical 12.00
Assessment 24.00
Independent Learning Hours 140.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
project n/a 40.00 n/a group project (online)
essay n/a 60.00 n/a 3000 word essay