Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Power and the exercising body : a study of Foucault and the gym experience
Author: Laspia, Dimitra
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This study is framed by the writings of the French philosopher, Michel Foucault on power and the body, particularly his Discipline and Punish (1979) and The History of Sexuality (1979-1990). It seeks to fill the void that these texts have left as to the way we understand our bodies and their significance for our society. Our bodies are according to Foucault, the ultimate and most important loci of the establishment and exercise of power. Power - identified in Foucault’s work with changing social conditions, relations and rules - influences our attitudes towards, and the ways we treat, our bodies. Yet, Foucault does not always convincingly show how our bodies as affected by power - are felt by us and how they live the world. The same failing that characterises the work of Foucault seems to characterise also the field of sociology of the body; an area of knowledge that is about the body as caught up in the social order and which Foucault is credited with having founded in some way. This study seeks to redress this failing through an empirical investigation of the embodied experiences of regular gym-users, using participant observation and interviews. The main contribution of this study is twofold: First, by identifying the wide number of forces that bring people to the gym, it confirms the social character of power as presented by Foucault and further illuminates the idea of the social shaping of our bodies. By exploring people’s experiences of exercise, the study further reveals the materiality of the body; of how, gym users live their bodies and how their bodies themselves live the world. Second, by looking at the variety of the pains and pleasures associated with exercise and also at the knowledges that people gain through training, the study highlights he correctness of Foucault’s argument that power should not only be seen as a repressive force but also as a productive and empowering one.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available