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Genom kroppen Bortom kroppen: En upptäcktsresa vid kroppens gränser
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Through the Body, Beyond the Body : An Expedition at the Borders of the Body (English)
Abstract [en]

We could all be said to be the body in different ways. The premise of this thesis is that our conventional manner of being the body is problematic and generates suffering. The main aim of the thesis is in short to describe the conventional manner and notion of being the body and investigate what options there are. In doing this the thesis inevitably leads into other areas such as language, knowledge, environment and sociality in relation to the body.

The thesis approaches the conventional manner of being the body in terms of “the dominant knowledge form” of the body. However this knowledge form is not investigated in itself but rather from the perspective of four subordinate knowledge forms which negate the dominant one. The first of these subordinate knowledge forms is found among a group of scientists named dissenting scientists. They build on established scientific knowledge of the body but draw conclusions that in important ways dissent from conventional science. The second subordinate knowledge form is made up of alternative body practitioners. These work practically with the body outside of, and sometimes even in conflict with, the views of the medical establishment. The third subordinate knowledge form is represented by a group of philosophers here named sensuous philosophers. These philosophers not only take the body as an important subject but place bodily phenomena at the centre of their philosophy in distinction to mainstream philosophy. The fourth subordinate knowledge form, finally, is that of spiritual teachers from Eastern traditions that have established themselves in the West during the last half-century. Instead of rejecting the body in the manner of certain religious traditions they advocate a first-hand knowledge of the body as an essential means to overcome fundamental human suffering.

The picture that evolves in the thesis is not simply an opposition between the dominant knowledge form and the subordinate knowledge forms but a model built on three concentric circles. The circles correspond to the main conceptions of the body that turn up in the investigation with the most limited conception in the middle and the other two in succession. A general way of “functioning” and an “outside” is also tied in to these circles. In light of this model it appears that we, as both individuals and collectives, always tend to get stuck on and flee the circles, and that we, in a more “conscious” way, could undertake the work of moving from a more restricted to a more open circle. Referring to a more conventional notion of the body we could thus be said to move through the body and beyond.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Sociologiska institutionen , 2006. , 739 p.
Keyword [en]
Sociology, the body, embodiment, existence, suffering, forms of knowledge, essentialism, constructionism, practice, transcendence, immanence
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-6445ISBN: 91-506-1844-XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-6445DiVA: diva2:167755
Public defence
2006-03-10, Auditoriet, Gustavianum, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2006-02-16 Created: 2006-02-16Bibliographically approved

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