Offical Launch of
carnalsociology.org schedualed for 37th World Congress of the
International Institute of Sociology, in Stockholm, July 6-9, 2005.
Expected in the
near future is a feature article, "Invitation to Carnal Sociology."
This article will tackle some of the misunderstandings of Carnal
Sociology as well as explicate the theoretical and methodlogical
foundaitons of the social science "from the body."
You A Carnal Sociologist?
The Carnal Sociology website is in its
early developmental stages. If you are a social scientist doing
research on the lived social body and interested in sharing your
research and participating in methodological and theoretical
discussions about the body as an object of study and as instrument of
research email Brian Lande to
be posted on the People and Research page.
What is Carnal Sociology?
Carnal sociology aims
to understand the social world the way people do,
through the body. The social world is constituted as much by the pains,
pleasures, and peak performances of persons engaged in social activity
as by the meanings and cosmologies attributed to the gesticulations of
the sentient, living, and acting body.
It is an approach
that "aims to provide a demonstration in action of the fruitfulness of
an approach that takes seriously, at the theoretical, methodological,
and rhetorical levels, the fact that the social agent is before
anything else a being of flesh, nerves, and senses...a 'suffering
being'" (Wacquant 2003).
A carnal sociologist
immerses him or her self, as a full participant, in the social world
under inquiry in order to capture the sensual and moral
attraction that make members of that world tick. It is an “ethnography
by conversion,” in which a bundle of skills and interests are
transformed by the institution under study such that the research
becomes an experimental incarnation of institutional values and ways of
In part such an
approach by a theoretically armed researcher is deemed necessary
because a great deal of a groups knowledge of itself and the world is a
tacit knowledge, embodied as collective bodily dispositions and
perceptions that often are not or are cannot be articulated through
language. This is due to no other fact than that the perceptions and
actions that are generated in the bodies relation to the world are not
founded upon linguistic or propositional rules but literally
inscribed in the flesh. As Bourdieu argued, "we learn by the body."
Why open a web page on the sociology of the body with a painting by
Cezanne? In fact it is because Cezanne paints pictures the way that
bodies perceive the world. Cezanne’s genius is that he tried to capture
in painting, in the return to the object, human being, that is, the
existential ground of perception. ...[con tinue]
you find some of the key texts that have inspired carnal sociology.
These texts cover a broad range of disciplines such as philosophy,
sociology, psychology, and anthroplogy.
By Michael Polanyi
Phenomenology of Perception
By Maurice Merleau Ponty
By Pierre Bourdieu
Body & Soul
By Loïc Wacquant
How Emotions Work
By Jack Katz
Being and Time
By Martin Heidegger
Being and World
By Samuel Todes
Being in the World
By Hubert Dreyfus
The Concept of Mind
By Gilbert Ryle
Key Terms in
to the flesh or body, its passions and appetites. Carnal refers to more
than the sexual urges and needs of humans. Coming from 14th century
Middle English, the term means "of the flesh" and in this sense is
precisley what we mean by carnal sociology. It is a sociology of the
flesh. Our bodily selves are the subjects of culture and it is
impossible to talk about practices and the construction of the social
world without reference to constiuting flesh from which the world takes
its form and permenance.
Technique du Corp
natural tendency inherent in a body to develop itself; an attempt; an
effort. In Spinoza, the force in every animal to perserve its mode of
| Maurice Merleau-Ponty
"The Visible and the Invisible"
Click on the link [here
] to go the developing page on
Merleau-Ponty. In time this page should contain a comprehensive summary
of The Phenomenology of Perception
as well as commentaries on this vital text.
Bourdieu on the Web
"Everything is social"
Bourdieu was a sociologist who's entire ouevre in one way or
another can be seen as an ongoing project of reflexivley
identifying, historicizing and obliterating the binary categoreis of
thought (subject/object, theory/method, micro/macro, etc) that act as
epistemological obsticals to sociological analysis.. He had a
particular interest in
target="_blank">The Sociological Life of Pierre Bourdieu." International
Sociology 17-4 (December) 17-4: 549-556.
"An Inventive and Iconoclastic Scientist." Berkeley
Journal of Sociology
46 (2002): 177-179.
"Everything is Social: In memoriam Pierre Bourdieu,
1930-2002"(with Craig Calhoun). ASA Footnotes
(February 2002): 5, 10. [long version]