The Body in Late-Capitalist USA

The Body in Late-Capitalist USA

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 216 Illustrations: Published: August 1995

Author: Donald M. Lowe

American Studies, Cultural Studies

In The Body in Late-Capitalist USA, Donald M. Lowe explores the varied social practices that code and construct the body. Arguing that our bodily lives are shaped by a complex of daily and ongoing practices—how we work, what we buy and consume—Lowe contends that as a result of the commodification of these and other social practices in the late-twentieth century, what we often understand to be the needs of the body are in fact means for capital accumulation.
Moving beyond studies of representations and images of the body, Lowe focuses on the intersection of body practices, language, and the Social to describe concretely the reality of a lived body. His strongly synthetic work brings together Marxist critique, semiotics, Foucaultian discourse analysis, and systems and communications theory to examine those practices that construct the body under late capitalism: habits of work and consumption, the ways we give birth and raise children, socialization, mental and physical healing, reconstructions and contestations of sexuality and gender. Lowe draws upon a wide range of sources, including government and labor studies and statistics, diagnostic and statistical manuals on mental illness, computer manuals, self-help books, and guides to work-related stress disorders, to illustrate the transformation of the body into a nexus of exchange value in postmodern society.


“The merit of Lowe’s study for individuals practicing within arts communities is that he provides a comprehensive overview of current theoretical practices that heretofore were available only in several different publications. In making them physically and intellectually accessible between the covers of one book, he offers an invaluable tool for thinking about the body in the late-twentieth century.” — David McCarthy, New Art Examiner

"Lowe has produced an impressive argument about the transformation of the body in recent society. He presents in lucid prose a complex argument for a revised Marxism in conjunction with various poststructuralist positions as the basis for a new analysis of contemporary capitalism." — Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine


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Price: $24.95

Open Access