By Emmanuelle Tulle (auth.)
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Many of the phenomenological approaches I reviewed in this chapter signal an acceptance of mind–body unity as the key to ontological stability and as the vector through which some form of social stability is achieved. However, the very instability of the relationship, as signalled by Turner (2003), appears to place identity at risk. This is well illustrated by Leder and Bury. According to Leder (1990) and Bury (1982), there are instances when this unity is disrupted, for instance during illness or when the body is injured.
All these activities are highly sensate: receiving punches, controlling food and drink intake to maximise muscle definition or doing pointe Debates in the Sociology of the Body 35 work obviously generates particular sensations, of pain, hunger and dehydration for instance. However, boxers, bodybuilders and ballet dancers have to learn not only to manage the pain, that is to raise the pain threshold, but also the correct techniques to minimise the risk of pain. Thus body work involves training to deal with the pain inherent in the activity itself.
Debates in the Sociology of the Body 31 Habitus is too deterministic and constrained by the accumulation of economic capital. Furthermore, it implies conformity to structures of domination, rather than making resistance and voluntaristic action constitutive of its internal logic. Thus there is little room in habitus for variability and unintended action: every action is constitutive of habitus and reducible to a set of strategies designed to yield some profit. According to Alexander (1995), fields are not given enough autonomy – they are merely microcosms of the capitalist system.