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Body

Bryan S. Turner
Abstract Contemporary academic interest in the human body is a response to fundamental changes in the relationship between body, economy, technology and society. Scientific advances, particularly new reproductive technologies and therapeutic cloning techniques, have given the human body a problematic status. Ageing, disease and death no longer appear to be immutable facts about the human condition. The emergence of the body as a topic of research in the humanities and social sciences is also a response to the womens and gay liberation movements, and environmentalism, animal rights, anti-globalism, religious fundamentalism and conservative politics. Further, the human body is now central to economic growth in various biotechnology industries, in which disease itself has become a productive factor in the global economy and the body a code or system of information from which profits can be extracted through patents. In modern social theory, the body has been studied in the contexts of advertising and consumerism, in ethical debates about cloning, in research on HIV/AIDS, in postmodern reflections on cybernetics, cyberbodies and cyberpunk, and in the analysis of the global trade in human organs. The body is a central feature of contemporary politics, because its ambiguities, vulnerability and plasticity have been amplified by new genetic technologies. Keywords bio-economics, bio-politics, bio-tourism, genomics, post-human future

The Body and Embodiment There are two distinctive and possibly separate traditions in the anthropology and sociological study of the body. There is either the cultural analysis of the body as a system of meaning that has a definite structure existing separately from the consciousness and intentions of individuals, or there is the phenomenological study of embodiment that attempts to understand human practices or the performativity of the body. These two perspectives are distinct, but not necessarily incompatible. The study of dance and dancing provides a useful illustration of these two positions. We can clearly study dance as a cultural system, indeed as a language that has a structure and form by which we can interpret the social world. The meaning of the contrast between, for example, ballroom dancing and the classical ballet body is produced by differences between concepts in the discourse of dancing, but the meaning and significance of dancing as a set of practices and performances can only be grasped by understanding embodiment in motion. This is the difference between choreography as a text and the actions of a body in motion. Social anthropologists have contributed significantly to the analysis of the body as a method of classification. The human body has been a potent and persistent metaphor for social and political relations throughout human history. Different parts of the body have historically represented different social functions. For example, we can refer to the head of state without really recognizing the metaphor, while the heart has been a rich source of ideas about life, imagination and emotions. It is the house of the soul and the book of life, and the tables of the heart provided a perspective into the whole of Nature. Similarly, the hand occupies an

Copyright 2006 Theory, Culture & Society (http://tcs.sagepub.com) (SAGE Publications, London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi) Vol. 23(23): 223236. DOI: 10.1177/0263276406062576

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important position in shaping the imagination with respect to things that are beautiful (handsome) or useful (handy) or damaged and incomplete (handicap). The dominant political concerns and anxieties of society tend to be translated into disrupted and disturbed images of the body, and hence we can talk about the somatic society (Turner, 1992). The danse macabre gave gruesome expression to the devastation of the medieval social order that had been brought about by the ravages of the Black Death, and in modern society the scourge of cancer and AIDS has often been imagined in military metaphors of invading armies. Social disturbances are grasped in the metaphors by which we understand mental and physical health. Body metaphors have been important in moral debate about these social disruptions. The division between good and evil has drawn heavily on bodily metaphors; what is sinister is related to left-handedness, the illegitimate side, the awkward side. Our sense of social order is spoken of in terms of the balance or imbalance of the body. In the 18th century, when doctors turned to mathematics to produce a Newtonian map of the body, the metaphor of hydraulic pumps was used to express human digestion and blood circulation. The therapeutic bleeding of patients by knife or leech was to assist this hydraulic mechanism, and to relieve morbid pressures on the mind. Severe disturbances in society were often imagined as poor social digestion. These assumptions about social unrest producing disorder in the gut are reflected in the basic idea of the need for a government of the body. Dietary management of the body was translated into fiscal constraint, reduction in government expenditure and downsizing of public functions. In the language of modern management, a lean and mean corporation requires a healthy management team. In neo-liberal ideology, central government is an excess a sort of political obesity. The modern idea of government is taken from these diverse meanings of diet that stands for a political regime, a regimentation of society and a government of the body. Regulating the body, disciplining the soul and governing society were merged in political theories of social contract and the state. Bodily fluids are potent, and they can have both negative and positive effects. Fluids exist in a transient world, and disrupt the stability of categories. The secretions of saintly bodies were collected by the faithful, and their healing properties were used by mothers to protect their children. The Sufi saints of North Africa offered protection from the evil eye through the fluids that flowed from their bodies during religious festivals. In Christianity, Marys milk was a symbol of wealth and health, and the blood of Christ was a means of salvation. But blood and milk can also contaminate and disrupt social relations. Red symbolized danger; white, as in Marys milk, brought comfort and sustenance. There has been a universal fear among men of female menstruation, because the leaking bodies of women are sources of pollution. In early colonial times, speculation about the reproductive processes of native peoples conjured up strange women who could avoid menstruation by having their bodies sliced from the armpit to the knee. The Puritan Cotton Mather, in his sermons on Uncleanness, located filth with sexual functions and the lower parts of the body, while the soul and the mind were in the upper sections. Moral pollution has been generally measured by physical uncleanness, which is wet and fluid. There was an important correlation between Gandhis preoccupation with sex, diet and health reform, which illustrates the connections between the body politic and the individual organism and its management (Alter, 2000). Bodily fluids that flow from the inside to the outside are dangerous, fearful and contaminating, because external fluids challenge our sense of order and orderliness. When internal liquids appear on the outside, they are certain portents of death, disease or change. Leaking things are a warning of an alien annunciation. The inside/outside and upper/lower divisions combine with wet/dry and red/white dichotomies to demarcate borders of social pollution. For example, the anatomy lesson was long condemned by the Church Fathers as anathema, because it exposed to the human eye what God as creator had chosen not to disclose visibly but to enclose bodily. Where such diabolical anatomical operations took place, they were inflicted on the bodies of criminals as a juridical and political punishment. The criminal body had a double death first at the hands of the public executioner and, second, under the knife of the investigative surgeon.

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Religious Paradigms of the Body Religious institutions bind a people by their rituals and customs, and as a consequence religions constitute societies. Just as the swaddling bands of a child bind his or her body to the family, so religion binds the individual to society. The Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) were inextricably based on notions of generation and reproduction that occupy their core theologies and cosmologies. These religions were deeply patriarchal, and the contemporary secularization of family life, sexuality and the sexual division of labour have had profound, and largely corrosive, consequences for orthodox religious world-views. In modern secular societies, gay liberation and womens movements have articulated a range of claims for social equality and access to alternative sexual, familial or coupling arrangements, such as gay and lesbian marriage. These legal and scientific changes create the conditions for experiments in reproductive relationships that constitute a radical challenge to both traditional religion and conventional forms of the family. The rise of fundamentalism can be partly explained as a response to these changes, and it is for this reason that fundamentalists appear to be obsessed with sexual topics homosexual practice, the role of women in society, the status of women in the family and adolescent sexual behaviour. There have been, in the history of human societies, a number of important, more or less permanent, connections between religion, the body and sexual reproduction (Coakley, 1997). The core of these cosmological connections is the principle of generation and regeneration of the body. Social struggles over human reproduction have been reflected in controversies between matriarchy and patriarchy as forms of authority over the body, and these political controversies can be discerned even in the historical origins of the tradition of a high God. There is much academic disagreement, obviously, about the origins of human mythologies. One view is that, with the development of agriculture, the symbolism and cults of Mother Earth and human fertility became socially dominant (Eliade, 1961). An alternative interpretation is that with the growth of agriculture, the plough breaks up the earth and makes it fertile. The plough is a phallic symbol that points to men taking gardening away from women and in ancient Sumerian mythology Enki, the male god of water (semen), became the Great Father. However, the development of the concept of a high god challenged many of these local fertility cults and occurred simultaneously in a number of regions of the world. This creative religious period from approximately 800 to 200 BC was an axial age, because it was the crucial turning point in the formation of civilizational complexes. Confucius, Buddha, Socrates, Zoroaster and Isaiah, whose cosmological views had important common features, shaped the axial age in the emerging agrarian civilizations, where city life began to emerge. It was the cultural basis from which sprang the ethical, prophetic leaders of monotheism, which resulted eventually in the so-called religions of the book in which divine revelation was recorded (Weber, 1952). The prophets of the axial age addressed human beings in the name of a divine moral being who could not be represented by an image and who could not be easily constrained or cajoled by ritual or magic. Jahweh, the God of the tribes of Israel, was a jealous God whose Name could not be named. Jahweh was opposed to idols and idolatry, and demanded unswerving commitment through a contractual relationship or covenant. There is an important mythical role for a generative Father who is the patriarch of nations. In the Old Testament Jacob and Israel are interchangeable. With the evolution of the idea of sacred fatherhood, a range of problems about the body erupted. How are bodies produced and reproduced? If they fragment and decay, then redemption is a problem (Bynum, 1991). How can bodies be resurrected if they are incomplete? There have been (and continue to be) major political and social issues over the ownership and the authorship of bodies. Who owns bodies? Is there self-ownership (the principal doctrine of liberalism), does God own them (through a divine Fatherhood) or does the state own them (in benevolent despotism)? Matriarchy and patriarchy can be regarded as traditional principles for deciding the legitimacy and ownership of bodies, especially parental ownership and control of children. In these cosmological schemes, there were common homologies between the reproductive work of a creator God, the creative force of nature and reproduction with human bodies in family groups (Eliade,

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1965). Mythologies have been constructed upon these generative homologies to form systems of dichotomous classification between red menstrual blood as a symbol of transmission between generations, and white semen and milk as symbols of food, sustenance and reproduction. Jewish tradition held diverse views about women, marriage and sexuality (Biale, 1992). While the early Judeo-Christian teaching about women was not uniform, its legacy included a deeply negative understanding of women and sexuality. In the Genesis story, the original cooperative and companionate relationship between man and woman was replaced after the Fall by a relationship of domination. The Mosaic Law was addressed to a society in which women were household property and could not take decisions for themselves. Women thus appeared alongside domestic animals and children as chattels of the household. A wife who did not produce children was not fulfilling her duty and infertility was a religio-juridical ground for divorce. Barrenness in the Old Testament was a sign of divine disapproval, and polygyny, concubinage and prostitution were tolerated as concessions to male sexual energy. Because menstruation and childbirth were ritually unclean, women were frequently precluded from participating in cultic activities. Israelite marriage was a contract between separate families, and thus wives were dangerous to men, not only because they could manipulate men with their sexual charms, but also because they were recruited from outside the husbands family. These negative images of women and female bodies in the Old Testament have proved to be remarkably resilient historically. The underlying principles of Christianity were patriarchal in the sense that the structure of Christian theology required the concept of Jesus as the Son of God in order to make sense of salvation history as a redemptive act. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that human beings could be saved from sin. Because Christianity is fundamentally patriarchal, the Virgin Mary has an ambiguous status (Warner, 1983). In theological terms, the virginity of Mary was necessary in order for Christ to be without sin, but Christ also had to be of woman born in order to achieve human status, and thus to experience our world. Over time, Mary herself was removed from the possibility of any connection with sin, and became detached from an association with the Fall of Adam and Eve. The doctrine of Immaculate Conception was declared in 1854, and Mary was exempt from original sin. Mary was ambiguous in other ways. She became, in a patriarchal world, the great medieval symbol of motherhood. In the 14th century, the visions of St Bridget of Sweden pictured the Virgin, following the birth of Christ, on her knees in worshipful adoration of the Child, and by the 15th century paintings of the adoration of the mother were common. The Virgin was also a vehicle in her own right of worship and adoration. The more she was exempt from sin, the more her status approximated that of Christ. In oppositional theology, she was often regarded as equal to Christ in the concept of co-redemption. Because she was spared from sin, she was also exempt from the physical experiences of the typical female sexual intercourse, labour and childbirth. She was removed from basic physical activities except for one the suckling of the infant Jesus. As a result, a cult emerged around the breast of the Virgin and the milk that flowed from her teat. The theme of the nursing Virgin or Maria Lactans became an important part of medieval cultic belief and practice. In the absence of a powerful female figure in the Gospels, medieval Christianity elevated the spiritual status of Mary, who became the great champion of procreation. Globalization: The Diseased Body and Bio-economics The implications of cloning and artificial reproduction for human rights are far reaching, and they have been addressed in academic debates about rights to reproduce. However, there is an emerging issue for the body and society that concerns the social consequences of medical science for ageing. In traditional societies, the relationship between resources (especially land and the food supply) and life expectancy was, more or less, regulated by a Malthusian logic. The possibility of extending the expectation of life in the rich societies of the North has clear Malthusian implications for the world as a whole. Because there is a very close relationship

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between poverty and injustice, we should take this Malthusian question seriously, if we are to understand the relationship between bodies, rights and poverty. In conventional gerontology, the question about living forever might in practice mean living a full life in terms of achieving the average expectation of life. More recently, however, there has been considerable speculation as to whether medical science could reverse the ageing process. Between the 1960s and 1980s the conventional view of mainstream biology was that normal cells had a replicative senescence, that is normal tissues can only divide a finite number of times before entering a stage of quiescence. Cells were observed in vitro in a process of natural senescence, and eventually experiments in vivo produced a distinction between normal and pathological cells in terms of division. Paradoxically, pathological cells appeared to have no necessary limitation on replication, and immortalization was the distinctive feature of a pathological cell line. Biologists concluded by extrapolation that finite cell division meant the ageing of the whole organism was inevitable. These findings confirmed that human life had an intrinsic and predetermined limit, and that it was pathology that described how certain cells might out-survive the inescapable senescence of cellular life. This framework of ageing was eventually overturned by scientists who isolated human embryonic cells that were capable of continuous division in culture and showed no sign of the replicative crisis. Certain non-pathological cells (or stem cells) were capable of indefinite division, and hence were immortalized. The cultivation of these cells as an experimental form of life has challenged existing assumptions about the boundaries between the normal and the pathological, and between life and death. Stem cell research begins to define the arena within the body that has reserves of renewable tissue, and suggests that the limits of biological growth are not fixed or inflexible. The body has a surplus of stem cells capable of survival beyond the death of the organism. With these developments in bio-gerontology, the capacity of regenerative medicine to extend the limits of life becomes a plausible aspect of medicine. This interpretation of replication locates ageing as a shifting threshold between surplus and waste, between obsolescence and renewal. Because the World Bank sees the ageing populations of the developed world as a threat to economic growth, there is considerable interest in the possibilities of stem cell research as an aspect of regenerative medicine. Companies operating in the Caribbean are already offering regenerative medicine as part of a holiday package, designed to alleviate the negative consequences of degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes. The idea of bio-tourism might become an addendum to sexual tourism in the world of advanced bio-capitalism. One sign of the times was an academic event hosted by the Cambridge University Life Extension and Rejuvenation Society in October 2004 at which Dr Aubrey de Grey attempted to demonstrate that human beings could live forever, by which he meant that, within 25 years, medical science will possess the capacity to repair all known effects of ageing. The average age at death of people born thereafter would exceed 5000 years! In fact expectations of significant breakthroughs in the treatment of disease and significant profits by the large pharmaceutical companies after the decoding of the human genome in 2001 were disappointing. The pharmaceutical industry was also hesitant to invest in new products that were designed for conditions that affected small numbers of people. The fears associated with personalized medicine have begun to disappear, because it is obvious that there are generic processes from which the genomics companies can profit. Genetics-based medicine is poised to find better diagnostic tests for, and generic solutions to, such conditions as diabetes, Alzheimers disease, heart problems and breast cancer. These advances will certainly radically enhance life expectancy. The human consequences of these changes will be rapid and radical, but little thought has been given to the long-term social and political consequences of extended longevity. Although it is mere speculation, it can be proposed that the social outcomes of a new pattern of ageing would include: growing world inequality between the rejuvenated North and the naturally ageing South, which would further inflame frustration and resentment of deprived social groups; the inability of the labour market to cope with the increasing number of survivors and similar crises in housing markets; the inability of the food supply to keep up with

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population expansion, which would require increasing use of genetically modified food, increasing the dependency of the developing world on the rich, geriatric North; there would be intergenerational conflicts over resources, in which existing economic crises around pensions and housing would increase; and, finally, if we assume that genomic sciences could reduce mortality, this would, at least in the short term, increase morbidity as chronic illness and geriatric diseases increased. The burden of dependency would have negative consequences for health care systems and economic growth. The prospect of indefinite life would thus raise an acute Malthusian crisis. These changes imply an interesting change from early to late modernity. In the early stages of capitalism, the role of medical science was to improve health care to make the working class healthy in order to have an efficient labour force. Late capitalism does not need a large labour force at full employment and working full time, because technology has made labour more efficient. In the new biotechnological environment, disease is no longer a negative force in the economy but, on the contrary, an aspect of the factors of production. It is inconceivable that we could live forever. More realistically, if life expectancy in the advanced economies increased by, for example, ten years over the next five years by the application of genetic science through the medium of regenerative medicine, then the global consequences could be very damaging. The unintended consequences might include a major depletion of natural resources and an increase in the speed of environmental decline through increased industrialization, which would be necessary to support a rapid increase in the worlds population. The negative consequences would be experienced primarily by people living in the developing world. This economic and social crisis would result from our inability to find renewable energy. A pessimistic interpretation of this Malthusian crisis would suggest that the exhaustion of the earths resources can never be finally overcome, because waste is unavoidable. Our enjoyment of longevity (the right to life) would be at the expense of their social and economic security (given a Malthusian assumption about scarcity, relatively fixed resources and the entropy law). It follows that vulnerability and precariousness are inescapable features of human life, for which we need human rights as the basis of personal security. However, it also follows that, for example, there must be limits to the right to life. It cannot be the case that I have a right to live indefinitely at your expense. This limitation points to the importance of the social dimension of rights, that the exercise of rights must be to our collective advantage. Conclusion: Bio-politics In contemporary society, the body is in one sense disappearing; it is being converted into an information system whose genetic code can be manipulated and sold as a commercial product in the new biotech economy. In global terms, the disorders and diseases of the human body have become productive in a post-industrial economy. In terms of media debate, the new reproductive technologies, cloning and genetic screening are important illustrations of public concern about the social consequences of the new genetics. Improvements in scientific understanding of genetics have already had major consequences for the circumstances under which people reproduce, and genetic surveillance and forensic genetics may also transform criminal investigation and the policing of societies. The code of the body becomes a major tool of criminal investigations. These changes in biomedicine illustrate Foucaults perspective in terms of a division between the study of the individual body and the study of populations (Foucault, 1979). In the first distinction he referred to an anatomo-politics of the human body, consisting of disciplines of the body. In the second distinction, he discussed a bio-politics of the population, which are the regulatory controls over populations. Anatomo-politics constitute the micropolitics of identity. The clinical examination of individuals is part of the anatomo-politics of society. The bio-politics of populations used demography, epidemiology and public health sciences to examine and manage whole populations. The anatomo-politics of medicine involves the discipline of individuals; the bio-politics of society achieves a surveillance and regulation

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of populations. Foucaults study of the body was thus organized around the notions of discipline and regulatory controls or governmentality (Foucault, 1991). The new genetics provide enhanced opportunities for governmentality as a strategy of political surveillance and economic production. The government of the body, as a consequence, remains a critical issue in the management and regulation of individuals and populations in contemporary society. References
Alter, J.S. (2000) Gandhis Body: Sex, Diet and the Politics of Nationalism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Biale, D. (1992) Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America. New York: Basic Books. Bynum, C.W. (1991) Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion. New York: Zone. Coakley, S. (ed.) (1997) Religion and the Body. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Eliade, M. (1961) The Sacred and Profane: The Nature of Religion. New York: Harper. Foucault, M. (1979) The History of Sexuality. London: Tavistock. Foucault, M. (1991) Governmentality, pp. 87104 in G. Burchell, C. Gordon and P . Miller (eds) The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality. London: Harvester. Fukuyama, F. (2002) Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnological Revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Turner, B.S. (1992) Regulating Bodies: Essay in Medical Sociology. London: Routledge. Warner, M. (1983) Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary. New York: Vintage Books. Weber, M. (1952) Ancient Judaism. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

Bryan S. Turner is Professor of Sociology in the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore and the author of The Body and Society (1996).

Embodied Habitus
Shun Inoue
Keywords communication, local knowledge, martial art, practical sense, tacit knowing himself physically. Herrigel didnt understand what the master meant. How can one draw the bow without exerting oneself? The master replied: You must not draw the bow with your physical strength; you must do it with your mind. It took about a year for Herrigel to learn the proper way of drawing the bow with proper posture and breathing, keeping his arm and shoulder muscles thoroughly relaxed. The next step was to shoot an arrow. Herrigel had trouble with the timing of discharging the arrow and the master advised him not to think of the timing: Your intention of getting the timing right causes your trouble. Dont make any conscious effort of shooting. You must abandon your intentions and just wait for the time when the arrow leaves by itself. Being baffled, Herrigel asked: Who on earth shoots the arrow, then? The masters answer was: Once you have understood that, you will have no further need of me.

n 1924 the German philosopher Eugen Herrigel (18841955) arrived in Japan to teach at the Tohoku University in Sendai. While lecturing on philosophy and the classics, he became a student of the famous kyudo (Japanese archery) master Kenzo Awa (18801939). The reason why Herrigel chose kyudo was that he thought, erroneously as it turned out, that his experience in target shooting with rifles would be useful. Later, in 1936, he looked back on his kyudo training under the guidance of Awa in one of his lectures in Berlin (Herrigel, 1936). The training began by learning the proper posture and motion of drawing the bow. In this practice, the master advised Herrigel not to exert