Intact: A Defence of the Unmodified Body (Hardback)
  • Intact: A Defence of the Unmodified Body (Hardback)
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Intact: A Defence of the Unmodified Body (Hardback)

(author)
£20.00
Hardback 432 Pages
Published: 24/02/2022
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Waterstones Says

Rigorously researched and passionately argued, Chambers' urgent volume calls for recognition of the unmodified body in an age of social and political pressure for alteration, highlighting everything from breast implants to male circumcision.

What would it take for your body to be good enough?

The pressure to change our bodies is overwhelming. We strive to defy ageing, build our biceps, cure our disabilities, conceal our quirks. Surrounded by filtered photos and surgically-enhanced features, we must contort our physical selves to prejudiced standards of beauty. Perfection is impossible, and even an acceptable body seems out of reach.

In this mind-expanding book, Cambridge philosopher Clare Chambers argues that the unmodified body is a key political principle. While defending our right to change our bodies, she argues that the social pressures to modify undermine equality. She shows how the connected ideas of the natural body, the normal body, and the whole body have been used both to disrupt and to maintain social hierarchies - sometimes oppressing, other times liberating. The body becomes a site of political importance: a place where hierarchies of sex, gender, race, disability, age, and class are reinforced.

Through a thought-provoking analysis of the power dynamics that structure our society, and with examples ranging widely from bodybuilding to breast implants, deafness to male circumcision, Intact stresses that we must break away from the oppressive forces that demand we alter our bodies. Instead, it offers a bold, transformative vision of the human body that is equal without expectation.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241439043
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 667 g
Dimensions: 241 x 163 x 37 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A pleasure to read because it's packed with new (to me) information and ideas and so absorbingly readable. A must-read for psychotherapists, doctors and everyone else who enjoys connecting ideas

A barnstormer. Intact is a timely, challenging, troubling work. Clare Chambers argues that the unmodified body is valuable in itself, that it is a morally privileged baseline, and that it is - and should be - a site of political resistance against unwanted social pressures to modify - TLS

Moving and huge in scope ... it has made me feel better about how I feel about my body - Rachel Cunliffe

A nuanced, subtle and thoughtful book . . . anyone who is remotely interested in these topics will get a lot out of it and understand just how important this debate is and how it touches on our lives often without our even noticing it

Intact shocks and startles with real human stories but is both compassionate and challenging, warmly human and coolly rigorous. It left me questioning so many assumptions - what is natural, or normal? Who should decide what's best for other people's bodies, and how? I am now thinking afresh about how I live in my own body, in a world where, as Clare Chambers argues, nobody's body is ever allowed to be good enough, just as it is

In this cogently argued and insightful book, Clare Chambers calls for us all to reject the pervasive messages that our bodies aren't good enough and instead to accept and value the bodies we have. Intact is an essential read for all educators, policy makers, researchers and all those ready to call time on the beauty myths

A wonderfully rich book. It's not easy to combine complex, rigorous philosophy with clear and engaging prose. But Clare Chambers pulls this off brilliantly here

Essential reading for anyone with a body -- whether you love your body, hate your body, or fall somewhere in between, Clare Chambers will reshape how you think about it. Timely and trenchant, Intact recovers a seemingly lost principle: bodies matter. The significance of the material body for social and political justice, especially for historically oppressed groups, finds a stunning defense in these pages. You, your body, however it is, is good just as it is: a simple, but powerful statement of the fundamental equality of all persons.

A bold and brilliant book. Clare Chambers lucidly challenges the unquestioned assumptions of our visual culture. Intact is unique in its breadth, considering body modifications from make-up, to body building, to surgery and tattooing. She does not question the individual's right to change their body, but does question the social positioning of such choices. For the naming of 'shametenance' alone this book should be a bestseller

Intact is humane, generous, thought-provoking and sensible (great to see a mainstream philosopher discussing disability & Deafness too)

A beautifully written and thoughtful push back against all the people and powers that have made us, as a society, feel that our bodies need to be altered - Metro

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