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Sociology of the Body (SO967)

Sociology might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about body matters. Bodies though are more than just flesh and blood matters, important as that is of course. They are social through and through: the animating principle of any and all things social indeed, from self to society; ‘projects’ even to be worked at and improved upon in these body conscious times of ours.

Body matters matter then, in sociology and beyond.

In this module we take a closer look at these body and society matters, drawing on sociology past and present in order to do so.

Some of the things we look at on the module for example, from a variety of sociological angles, perspectives and viewpoints, are:

  • Sociology, biology and the body
  • The socially constructed body
  • The ‘civilising’ and ‘disciplining’ of bodies through the centuries
  • ‘Unequal’ bodies: class, capital, consumption
  • Feminisms and the body
  • ‘Caring’ bodies/’managed hearts’: Emotion, gender, ethics
  • Vulnerable bodies: Pain, suffering and the human condition
  • Optimised bodies? Biomedical enhancements
  • Sleeping bodies
  • Mortal bodies: Death and dying in late/postmodernity
  • Reflexive bodies: Doing sociology as an embodied practice

So if body matters matter to you, and you want to know more about the body and society, past present and future too, then the sociology of the body may well be the module for you.

"This was one of my favourite modules. Other than the various topics offered, the credit also goes to the instructor, Simon Williams, who had selected some really interesting readings. He kept the module alive by cultivating very fruitful discussions, getting the students really involved. Some of my favourite themes included sleep, pain and death. Each week a range of issues and aspects to the theme were selected and discussed. I chose this module because it was something very different to what I had previously studied. I found the description interesting and after talking to Simon during the induction I decided to study it. I found that the module was discussion-focused, which was very engaging."

- Fatima Shehzad, MA Sociology 2017



Module Director

Simon Williams


This module is worth 20 CATS.