Living Across and Through Skins (Paperback)

Transactional Bodies, Pragmatism, and Feminism

By Shannon Sullivan

Indiana University Press, 9780253214409, 224pp.

Publication Date: March 22, 2001

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Explores the dynamic relationship between bodies and the world around them.

What if we lived across and through our skins as much as we do within them? According to Shannon Sullivan, the notion of bodies in transaction with their social, political, cultural, and physical surroundings is not new. Early in the 20th century, John Dewey elaborated human existence as a set of patterns of behavior or actions shaped by the environment. Underscoring the continued relevance of his thought, Sullivan brings Dewey into conversation with Continental philosophers--Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty--and feminist philosophers--Butler and Harding--to expand thinking about the body. Emphasizing topics such as the role of habit, the discursivity of bodies, communication and meaning, personal and cultural structures of gender, the improvement of bodily experience, and understandings of truth and objectivity, Living Across and Through Skins acknowledges the importance of the body's experience without placing it in opposition to psychological, cultural, and social aspects of human life. By focusing on what bodies do, rather than what they are, Sullivan prompts a closer look at concrete, physical transactions that might be changed to improve human experiences of the world.

About the Author

Shannon Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the Pennsylvania State University.