Schooled Bodies?

Negotiating Adolescent Validation Through Press, Peers and Parents

Paperback / softback, 152 pages, 244 mm x 170 mm
1 Sep 2008
Trentham Books Ltd

Price: £19.99

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This book explores how adolescents in contemporary western culture are schooled on issues of embodiment. Despite an apparently growing lay consensus that adolescence is the time when concerns relating to the body are especially concentrated and complex, sociological literature rarely makes connections between the sociology of the body and the sociology of adolescence. With its in-depth conversations with adolescents themselves and its exploration of theoretical and empirical discourses, the book bridges this gap.

Schooled Bodies? Is unique in offering a methodologically detailed account of the complexities encountered by the adolescents in their pursuit of a sense of embodied validation. The in-depth study allows readers to journey into the worlds of teenagers from varied backgrounds, as they reveal embodied narratives that shift frequently between happiness and heartache.

Working with these adolescents and their everyday encounters with theoretical perceptions means that the bodies in this book are not mere canvases that have sociological understandings done to them. Instead the participants are agents who actively negotiate, investigate and instigate sociological understandings for themselves.

This book is valuable reading for those studying the sociology of childhood or adolescence or the sociology of the body, as well as courses on consumer culture and on education and teacher training. The subject matter also has strong popular appeal.

  • Majella McSharry

CONTENTS: Acknowledgements: Introduction: Memories of childhood and adolescence; Talking to adolescents; The focus of the book; 1. Validated bodies: How the popular press validates bodies; How adolescents see the role of popular press; How teenagers validate bodies; Teenagers' role in validating bodies; The body validated by popular press; The aesthetic-athletic female body in popular press; The aesthetic-athletic male body in popular press; Adolescents as negotiators of body images; How the aesthetic-athletic body is negotiated by adolescents; Adolescents' critiques of the popular press messages; Conclusion; 2. Policed bodies: How bodies are policed; Girls policing boys' bodies; Boys don't talk about their bodies; Do boys care about their bodies?; Boys policing boys' bodies; Conclusion; 3. Accepted bodies: Boys neutralising academia through sport; Friendships based on sport; Prestigious school activities; The physical competition for acceptance; Making a physical impression; Maintaining a physical impression; Conclusion; 4. Rejected bodies: How stigmatising is normalised; Stigmatising the thin body; Passing the body as 'normal'; The meaning of fat; Fat: A four letter word?; Coping with stigmatisation; Conclusion; 5. Predictable bodies: Tempting foods; The unregulated body: Society's problem; The unregulated body: The individual's problem; Balancing temptation and regulation; Guilty eating; Normal or disordered counteracting regimes?; Conclusion; 6. Exercised bodies: Working out: Social construction?; Working out: Schooling from parents; Working out: Schooling in the gym; Working out: Embodied construction?; Validation through working on the body; Validation through working the body; Conclusion; 7. Schooled bodies: The role of popular press; The role of peers; The role of parents; Proving self-value through body validation; Bibliography; Index.