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By Emmanuelle Tulle (auth.)

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Additional info for Ageing, the Body and Social Change: Running in Later Life

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It is a long-term, evolutionary process, although contingent on local conditions for the particular outcomes it is going to yield. The civilising process is reliant on a view of the body as unfinished and malleable and as both biological and social. Elias identifies three processes which are key to the civilising of bodies: firstly, their socialisation; secondly, their rationalisation; and thirdly, the individualisation of both the body and the self. The latter two are particularly useful here.

Elias identifies three processes which are key to the civilising of bodies: firstly, their socialisation; secondly, their rationalisation; and thirdly, the individualisation of both the body and the self. The latter two are particularly useful here. Processes of rationalisation indicate the detachment of the body from the self, enabling greater control and management of bodily processes. Processes of individualisation point to the presence of barriers between biological bodies and the development of a reflexive awareness of one’s body as a separate entity.

Debates in the Sociology of the Body 25 Furthermore, the extent to which the fashioning of one’s body in conformity with “images’’ of culturally valued, socially appropriate bodies is compulsory or optional is open to scrutiny. According to Foucault (1997a, b), the subjection of one’s body to disciplining through medicine, penal surveillance, consumption and other social processes, and the technical mastery which it generates, is symptomatic of “greater bodily self-consciousness and self-scrutiny in public life’’ (Featherstone 1982: 28).

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