Posts Tagged ‘health’

I read the introduction to Contested Bodies* yesterday, since I’m considering taking a module on it, and it kicked off a lot of thoughts (very early this morning, so I’m writing them down mostly to try and test their coherency).

It brings into academic focus some things I’ve been reading about in the blogosphere anyway, especially on issues around fatness, health, and controlling the body through diet and exercise. There are, however, a lot of other aspects of control of the body – for example, we expect most movement and speech in adults to be controlled by the mind, although expectation does not mean this is the case, for whole rafts of reasons.

Furthermore, the general idea that the mind should control the body (should choose what we eat and when, should cause us to move, etc.) is based entirely on the idea that the mind is separate from the body, or at least seperable. However, if the mind (as materialists and neuroscientists argue) is not separate but part of the body in the form of the brain, this disconnection will break down and the heirarchy of mind-over-body cannot be maintained. Studies which suggest that the brain needs certain fats and oils to function properly, that it can be exercised, and that its form in adults is shaped by their socialisation all tends to suggest that the mind is bodily and under pressures related to those at work on the rest of the body.

* Ruth Holliday and John Hassard, eds., Contested Bodies, http://lib.myilibrary.com/Browse/open.asp?ID=31731 – accessible online to (some of?) those with an Athens login, usually via a university.


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