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In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification Paperback – May 16, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0312293116 ISBN-10: 0312293119 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st edition (May 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312293119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312293116
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...this work provides insight into a relatively understudied segment of the population."--Library Journal

". . . a fascinating and sensitive look at body modification subcultures and the political debates surrounding them."-Patricia Clough, author of Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology

"The book refreshingly moves the arresting figure of the extreme body modifier out of the realm of the pathological and the masochistic and reveals how these practices and their disturbing embodiments challenge the tyrannical concept of normalcy that keeps the rest of us narrowly in check."--Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University

From the Inside Flap

". . . a fascinating and sensitive look at body modification subcultures and the political debates surrounding them."-Patricia Clough, author of Autoaffection: Unconscious Thought in the Age of Teletechnology

"The book refreshingly moves the arresting figure of the extreme body modifier out of the realm of the pathological and the masochistic and reveals how these practices and their disturbing embodiments challenge the tyrannical concept of normalcy that keeps the rest of us narrowly in check."--Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
In the Flesh is an insightful examination of the more extreme body modification subculture, one that invites the reader to re-examine his or her expectations about bodies, body politics, and medical technologies. A generous writer, Pitts presents her research to the reader and offers a framework for investigating how some bodily alterations are medicalized or accepted because they enforce normative expectations about health and beauty, and how others are pathologized. In lively and lucid prose, the author provides us with a useful look at an important issue, and does so (much to her credit) without confining her research participants or her readers to a specific political camp. There may be bright political lines between circumcision, botox injections, Michael Jackson, and flesh hangings -- or then again, maybe there are not. In the Flesh gives us new tools with which to draw those lines for ourselves.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is an engrossing and well-crafted analysis of a sub-culture which moves beyond the radar of our nation's more austere population. In showing and telling this seamy and sadistic underbelly (with all its diverse accoutrements and experiments) Victoria Pitts manages to achieve a very difficult balance: she gives the members of a distinct sub-culture the right to tell their own stories in their own distinct voices, yet she also provides erudite and elucidating commentary on that sub-culture. Her insights prove as interesting as the strange stories her subjects tell, stories which, suprisingly enough, have relevance to the reactions many of us experience toward contemporary culture, though we may often respond through less extreme measures. I reccomend this book as a fine example of the interesting work being done in academic scholarship and the pleasures such work can offer, even to non-specialists.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Wood on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book does a great job of opening up the lives of body modifiers and situating them clearly in a complex cultural context. Victoria Pitts beautifully balances her own qualitative analysis with the voices of those she interviewed. This book is accessible while still delving deeply into social theory. Pitts neither romanticizes nor objectifies body modifiers. Instead she honestly explores their narratives, from "reclaiming," to "queer," to "modern primitive" to "cyberpunk." I'd recommend this book to any reader interested in cultural studies, body modification, social theory, deviance, the construction of identity, or the politics of bodies.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Victoria Pitts's book "In the Flesh" is the most brilliant analysis of postmodern culture I have ever read. Through the lens of recent phenomena in body modification--from the beautifying to the erotic and grotesque--she shows how issues of subjectivity are complexly intertwined with body strategies--performances in which the actors at once gain and lose themselves. With exquisite analysis of fascinating subjects and clear-minded use of postmodern theory, her book is the epitome of rigorous scholarship, both theoretical and empirical. It is, in a word, a theory of flesh and its agencies; but beyond the body, it offers us a scaffolding from which to view the painfully complex issues of contemporary culture at large.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Harry N. Tormey on January 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The general tone of this book is very much like a second rate graduate thesis. It manages to be blandly academic in terms of style yet with none of the rigor one would associate with a decent sociology text. For example the author appears to have interviewed a grand total of about five people. Also none of the people interviewed are particularly interesting characters; the focus seems to be people recovering from sexual abuse or people affirming their sexuality by getting branded.

Now I don't have a problem with this phenomenon, I think its pretty interesting but If you want to read that kind of thing you can find tons of it free on Bmezine. Bmezine, has tones of experience stories like this, actual pictures and a means to contact people actually involved.

If you scrape away the interviews all you have left are the authors opinions about modification and a few cheap sudo cyberpunk photo's.

If you want a good read about body modification read the modern primitives re search title and the industrial culture handbook. I don't really have any good academic recommendations but I bet with a bit of research you can find something a lot better than this.
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