Discourses of the Body

Sreyashi Dhar
Assistant Professor
Department of English Studies
CHRIST (Deemed to be University)
Bangalore, India


Executive Summary

The working paper titled “Discourses of the Body” attempts to highlight the theories propounded by various philosophers, thinkers, psychoanalysts, literary critics and feminist theorists by attempting an analytical study of their ideas in relation to the human body and its environment. The working paper traces a chronological study of the mind-body relationship in respect to the socio-cultural milieu.

Human body is not a universal concept but rather a flexible idea. It has been interpreted in diverse ways in different societies and at different time periods. Different societies have constructed ‘ideals’ of the female body. In the quest for control and enhancement of the female form, different societies have brought constraints on both the female mind and body. Attempt has also been made to focus on the incompleteness of the female body which has been exploited by the visual media.

Language plays a vital role in the formation of the social, cultural, and moral codes that defines the body and its boundaries. Susan Bordo states that one crucial way to differentiate bodies is of course gender. Since women are the bearers of moral codes and the female body represents the socio-cultural values of a society, the study of women’s embodiment, their stereotypical role, their performativity, and the factors related to the agential role of women are of great importance.

Keywords: body, female body, language, sexuality, gaze, desire, performitivity, subjectivity, identity, agency, consciousness.


Year of Publication: June 2013

ISBN: 978-93-82305-26-2

Working paper: Vol 9 (2013-14)

Pages: viii, 22

Price: available on request
Funded by Centre for Research-Projects-CHRIST (Deemed to be University)