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This course examines a variety of body modification and management practices, such as cosmetic surgery, sexual enhancement technologies and body piercing, and considers the ways in which particular forms of embodiment challenge common understandings about bodies, gender and sexuality.
It is almost impossible to read a magazine, go online, or watch TV without encountering images or stories about various ways to shape, decorate, alter and ‘improve’ one’s body. Similarly, in recent decades, ‘the body’ has also become the focus of scholarly attention. In fact, it has now become a major area of scholarship in sociology and provides a central framework for addressing issues in gender, sexuality, health, childhood, ageing, disability among many others. This course focuses on human embodiment and the social practices associated with bodies. There are many aspects of human embodiment which are taken for granted in everyday life, yet these are products of complex social and political process and actions located with particular socio-historic contexts. To explore the ‘social construction’ of bodies is not to deny their materiality. Rather the focus is on both the ways in which the body is shaped in culturally and historically specific terms and the lived body as a site of knowledge and experience. Through attention to specific practices, and technologies, such as cosmetic surgery, sexual enhancement and ‘extreme’ body modification, the course will disrupt oppositions between conformity and transgression, control and agency, materiality and cultural meanings.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
15 points of SOCI or ANTH at 100 level; OR 45 points in related subjects with the approval of the Head of Department.
GEND102, FMST102, GEND112, AMST113, CULT112, AMST142, GEND201, CULT207
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Domestic fee $746.00
International fee $3,038.00
* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences.