--The Civilised Body-- Question: How does Elias's analysis of the "civilising process" cast doubt on the idea that the body is an exclusively biological entity?

1704 Words Oct 26th, 2009 7 Pages
The Civilised BodyIn this discussion we are going to examine what the "civilising process" is, how it leads to ones body becoming "civilised" and how this widens the divide between how we see the body as being part of society and as a purely biological entity. I will then attempt to examine how this new perception of the body fits in with our modern society and culture.

So, before we begin, let us look at how bodies were before the civilising process began. In medieval times, the body was seen as a chaotic and purely biological and natural entity. Medieval society was characterized by disease, violent and emotional outbursts and food shortages. There was very little that was conductive to the forming of beautiful bodies. The only bodily
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how we dress, what we buy, how we interact. The first source he defined is called "economic capital", this basically refers to how much one earns within society. This can be displayed in terms of buying expensive things. The second type of capital is known as "cultural capital" and is a representation of such things as one's educational achievement and knowledge of culture. The third type of capital is known as "symbolic capital" and is basically one's status and recognition within society. Again this can be displayed in terms of dress and manners. The final type of capital was coined the "social capital" and represents one's social networks e.g. someone who knows people in power is more likely to be able to get a powerful job. It is also worth mentioning that capitals co-exist, that is, if one person has a lot of one capital, they will most likely have a lot of another e.g. cultural and economic capital. The overall amount of capital a person has determines their class position within society. Another type of capital, an embodied type, known as "physical capital" has also been defined. This type of capital is becoming increasingly prominent in modern societies as it reflects the difference in dress and appearance of different social classes. Bourdieu argued that for the working classes, the body is seen as a "means to and end", that is, it is a tool to accomplish tasks. Working class men typically take part in sports which produce excitement

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