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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP5303M Contested Bodies

30 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: Prof Ruth Holliday

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

SLSP5302MContested Bodies

Module replaces

SLSP5302M Contested Bodies

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Philosophical, cultural and sociological theory frequently celebrates the mind at the expense of the body. However, as people we can only experience the world through our bodies and are perceived by others in our bodies. Body theorists have offered considerable challenges to a mind/body split and have developed theories that make the body a central concept in social and cultural analysis. This module explores approaches to the body through particular theorists including Foucault, Butler, Grosz and Merleau-Ponty, and themes such as; bodies as commodities; the body and technology; bodies crossing borders; fat bodies; and body modifications such as beauty, exercise, slenderness, cosmetic surgery, tattooing, piercing and transexuality.


This module will engage students in higher level debates providing them with advanced understanding of key concepts and theories in relation to the body. Student will apply these skills to a breadth of contemporary issues allowing them to develop their critical knowledge and understanding.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- identify key theoretical concepts in the study of the body;
- understand the critical debates surrounding the gendering of the body;
- critically analyse bodies and bodily practices;
- review and critically appraise writing on the body;
- synthesise information and knowledge from a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives;
- use the above to produce a critical essay which addresses key arguments and debates within the study of the body.


The module will cover a broad range of topics in relation to understanding the body, such as:
Approaches to the Body: how are bodies interpreted, has this always been understood in the same way?
How do bodies signify identity and how are they central to our experiences?
What other ways of interpreting bodies could there be?
How far can we change our bodies and the way others see them?
- Selling Bodies - human trafficking, mail-order brides, sex tourism and human organ sales.
- Reproduction and the body - IVF, sperm donation, the male pill and the 'egg trade'.
- Men, masculinity and the body
- Fat bodies, gender, class and disgust
- Bodies at work
- Disability and the body, the social model and phenomenology
- Cutting Bodies - Cosmetic Surgeries.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Preparation for workshops 200 hours
Preparation for assessment 78 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Attendance and participation in workshops.
Completion of any formative work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 4,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:30:03


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