Current Sociology. July 2008, 56(4)

July's Current Sociology is dedicated to alienation by way of the body. Kalekin-Fishman & Langman introduce the issue with a brief history of the alienation concept: sociological accounts of the body (defined very loosely) are presented as a means of linking up to the concerns of the discipline's founding thinkers.

David advocates 'reflexive epistemological diversity' (read thoughtful multi-factor, multi-leveled accounts - well yeah). The Bart Simpson reference is pointless.

Kalekin-Fishman insists that false consciousness is real, and that we'll get there via some version of mind-body dualism. It's doubtful if any serious monist or dualist positions preclude or endorse the sort of analysis suggested here. Blame the jackhammer of presumed critique: a less excitable approach to alienation wouldn't need all this dubious philosophical baggage.

Adelman & Ruggi look at Brazilian notions of beauty and gender. Women athletes, fashion models and the transgendered are the objects (treated separately). There may be ideational shifts going on, but don't hold your breath.

Allen takes on 'psy', re: anorexia. Think of the anorexic as a desirable type - shored up and glamorised through media spectacle, operationalised in the DSM and underwritten by a culture anxious about health, food and self-discipline. Suffers from that strange cookie-cutter post-structuralist voice...

Kontula speaks up for the pleasure of (female, Finnish) sex-workers. The money isn't distinctly alienating. Cash-free relationships can work in parallel. The job can even be emancipating. It's all down to context: focus less on the 'act', more on the circumstances.

Bodies are designed, demeaned, vulgarised and brutalised in Prosono's pastiche. Ideologies of the body, formed in European Fascism, live on in the present - as grist for a horrible consumer-capitalist mill. Dire stuff.

Cashmore goes after the Tiger Woods commodity: a false advertisement for 'the US's new racial order' (some amusingly breathless press pieces are enrolled). Strained distinctions aside, Woods is a moving cog in US racial politics. He's also a brand. And finally, he's probably white.

The carnival is back for Langman in the form of body-focused edginess (think tattoos, piercings, and - apparently - labiaplasty. It's resistance (sort of). But not enough (repressive desublimations anyone?).