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Unacknowledged distinctions: Corporeality versus embodiment in later life

Gilleard, C; Higgs, P; (2018) Unacknowledged distinctions: Corporeality versus embodiment in later life. Journal of Aging Studies , 45 pp. 5-10. 10.1016/j.jaging.2018.01.001. Green open access

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Abstract

The focus upon the body in the social sciences has had a growing influence in recent years on aging studies. Various terms have been used to explore the relationship between the body and society, of which 'corporeality' and 'embodiment' have taken pride of place. In this paper, we present the case for drawing a clear distinction between these two terms and the consequences that follow from it for the study of the body in social and cultural gerontology. Central to this distinction is the place of social agency. Corporeality, we suggest, refers to the role of the body as a set of structures whose identity and meaning is mediated by culture and society. Embodiment, in contrast, refers to the processes by which social actors realise distinction, identity and lifestyle through the medium of the body. Making this distinction sharpens the difference between studies that address self and others' reactions to physical changes in bodily function attributable to aging and/or age associated illness and impairment and studies that focus on the 'performance' of aging and the contested realisations of identity and lifestyle in later life. While the latter primarily reflects the concerns of 'third age' studies the former addresses the concerns more directly associated with 'fourth age' studies.

Type: Article
Title: Unacknowledged distinctions: Corporeality versus embodiment in later life
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaging.2018.01.001
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2018.01.001
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10049166
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