This book examines the confusions and contradictions that manifest in prevalent attitudes towards the body, as well as in related bodily practices. The body is simultaneously our reference for the certainties of nature and the locus of a desire for transformation and reinvention. The body is at the same time worshipped and despised; an object of desire and of design. Francisco Ortega analyses how the body has become both a screen for the projection of our ideas and imaginings about ourselves and conversely an object of suspicion, anxiety, and discomfort. Addressing practices of corporeal ascesis (such as bodybuilding and dietetics), medical techlogies, and radical anatomical modifications, Ortega documents the ambiguous legacy of a western theoretical tradition that has always despised the body. Utilising a theoretical framework that is mainly informed by the phemelogy of the body, feminist theory, disability studies and the thought of Michel Foucault, Corporeality, Medical Techlogies and Contemporary Culture address several ethical and psychological issues associated with the experience and perception of the body in our cultural landscape. Drawing on these diverse areas of philosophical and analytical work, this book will interest those researching Law, Medicine, and Sociology.
Francisco Ortega is Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine of King's College, London (2012-2013).