Chapter 8

The Body: A Review and a Theoretical Perspective

Angela Hope

Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada

What is at stake is the activity and agency, the mobility and social space, accorded to women. Far from being inert, passive, noncultural and an ahistorical term, the body may be seen as the crucial term, the site of contestation, in a series of economic, political, sexual, and intellectual struggles.

Elizabeth Grosz, 1994: 19.


This article provides a critical analysis and review of the body in social theorizing, feminist theory, and organization studies in order to give my reader a broad understanding of the body that is not necessarily always feminist-oriented or even perhaps gender-oriented. In the second part, the article shifts towards creating theory. Relying on the underlying assumption that the seat of individual agency lies in the flesh, I craft a theoretical account of what I contend occurs to bodies in organizations and society and how they become corporeally organized by our cultural, economic, and religious structures. The focus is on how and why bodies become othered. This process of organizing and segregating bodies, referred to as ‘corporeal scapegoating,’ is situated at the intersection of the body, gender, organization studies, and sociology of religion.

The Body in Social Theory

The body as an area of inquiry in the social sciences mostly began in the 1960s with philosophers, cultural anthropologists, and social theorists like Erving ...

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