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Feminism and the Biological Bodyby Lynda Birke
Synopses & Reviews
What is a body? What are our perceptions of our inner bodies? How are these perceptions influenced?
In recent years, thinking about the body has become highly fashionable. However, the renewed focus, while certainly welcome, seems to always end at the corporeal surface. While recent sociological and feminist theory has made important claims about the process of cultural inscription on the body, and about the cultural representation of the body, what actually appears in this new theory seems to be, ironically, disembodied. If this newly theorized form has interiority, it is one that is explained predominantly through psychoanalysis. The physiological processes remain a mystery to be explained, if at all, only in the esoteric language of biomedicine.
As a trained biologist, Lynda Birke was frustrated by the gap between feminist cultural analysis and her own scientific background. In this book, she seeks to bridge this gap using ideas in anatomy and physiology to develop the feminist view that the biological body is socially and culturally constructed. Birke rejects the assumption that bodily function is somehow fixed and unchanging, claiming that biology offers more than just a deterministic narrative of how nature works. Feminism and the Biological Body brings natural science and feminist theory together and suggests that we need a new politics that includes, rather than denies, our flesh.
Book News Annotation:
Birke, a feminist biologist who has written extensively on the connections between feminism and science, seeks to bridge the gap between feminist cultural analysis and science by looking "inside" the body, using ideas in anatomy and physiology to develop the feminist view that the biological body is socially and culturally constructed. She rejects the assumption that the body's functioning is fixed and unchanging, claiming that biological science offers more than just a deterministic narrative of how nature works.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 188-200) and index.
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