Princeton University Library Catalog

The Body as Performance: An Exploration of Contemporary Bodily Capital

Keown, Robby [Browse]
Senior thesis
Monk Jr., Ellis P. [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Sociology [Browse]
Class year:
Summary note:
Bodily Capital refers to the social capital enjoyed by an individual based on aesthetic and functional features of the physical body. While bodily capital has been analyzed in the context of functional capabilities in athletes and the perpetuation of racial inequality, there is not as of yet a work that defines the nature of bodily capital as it fits into a larger fitness culture that is based on physiological and visual alterations to the body. The three primary findings of this exploration are that individuals engage in active manipulations of their appearance to construct a specific multi-faceted social performance, that the gym is an energized space of evaluation, competition, and gendered power dynamics in which intellectual understandings of bodily capital become part of a physicalized, sensual world, and finally that bodily capital differs between men and women in terms of its conception and evaluation, so much so that due to the heightened awareness of bodily pressures on women there is an active, feminist response affecting the overall judgement of gendered bodies.