SOCI202-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Constructing Bodies

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 16 July 2018
End Date: Sunday, 18 November 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 27 July 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 12 October 2018


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.

Learning Outcomes

University Graduate Attributes

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

Equivalent Courses

GEND201, CULT207

Timetable 2020

Semester 1 teaching will be conducted online, please refer to LEARN for online options.

In the meantime, please stay home, stay safe and take care of yourself and others.

Kia kaha!

Course Coordinator

Tiina Vares


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Essay 21 Aug 2018 40% 2200 words
Take home test 19 Oct 2018 40% 2400-2800 words
Tutorial attendance and participation 5%
Oral Presentation 15%

Indicative Fees

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.

All SOCI202 Occurrences

  • SOCI202-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018