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By Karen Dale (auth.)

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2 Written on the Body: Social Theory and the Body If we were to render the savage world safe for Western, verbalizing man, we would have to bring the mysteries of the human body within the bounds of Western rationality. (Polhemus, 1975, p. 15) Part of the impetus for considering the relationship between organisation studies and the human body is the massive growth of literature about the body in the social sciences and humanities over the last couple of decades of the twentieth century. This not only encompasses the newly marked out territory of the `sociology of the body', but also work across anthropology (see, for example, Haraway, 1990b; Martin, 1994), psychology (Stam, 1998), geography (Ainley, 1998), cultural studies (Featherstone, 1991), art history (Callen, 1995) and feminist theory (Butler, 1990, 1993).

Theory remains a central and rational enterprise. Theory may admit the body but the theorist remains disembodied' (Morgan and Scott, 1993, p. 12; see also Bologh's (1990) discussion of Max Weber). Of course, this neglects the way that even the most abstract theorist cannot escape the corporeality of their own breaths, heartbeats and brain impulses, even if they manage without the muscle tension of sitting at a desk! So it may be argued that in theorising I continue to reproduce the devaluation of the body.

The construction of the body seems to have moved from the structured, bounded body of anatomy to the plastic, hybrid body of the cyborg or the shapeshifter in the `Star Trek' spinoff, `Deep Space 9'. The desire to cut beneath the skin to find out the hidden make-up of the body-parts seems to have shifted to what is made visible, presented and re-presented on the surface. The upsurge of academic interest in the body is in part a response to these changes. In this section I shall look at the two elements of the `anatomising urge' ± the scalpel and the mirror ± in relation to these changing constructions of the body and their relationship to images of organisations.

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