The starting point of Ann Oakley's fascinating book is the fracture of her right arm in the grounds of a hotel in the USA. What begins as an accident becomes a journey into some critical themes of modern Western culture: the crisis of embodiment and the perfect self; the confusion between body and identity; the commodification of bodies and body parts; the intrusive surveillance and profiteering of medicine and the law; the problem of ageing; and the identification of women, particularly, with bodies - from the intensely ambiguous two-in-one state of pregnancy to women's later transformation into unproductive, brittle skeletons.
"Fracture" mixes personal experience (the author's and other people's) with 'facts' derived from other literatures, including the history of medicine, neurology, the sociology of health and illness, philosophy, and legal discourses on the right to life and people as victims of a greedy litigation system. The book's genre spans fiction/non-fiction, autobiography and social theory.
Ann Oakley is a leading feminist sociologist and writer. She is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the Institute of Education, University of London and has published more than 30 books, including "The Sociology of Housework", "From here to maternity" and "Gender on planet earth". She has also written 7 novels, one of which, "The Men's Room", was made into a BBC TV series.
Preface; An accident at White Creek Lodge; Our bodies, ourselves; Nervous disorder; Right hands; The daily drama of the body; Living corpses; Old bones; Two in one; The law of uncivil actions; Accidental bodies.
"A new book by Ann Oakley always engages us. Fracture weaves her personal story with a very fine meditation on the body. Reading it opens up important questions about the meaning of where we live from." Susie Orbach, psychoanalyst and writer
"In a remarkably scholarly essay which includes a wide range of clearly explained references to the neurology of action and perception, the basis of the subjective body image, the supremacy of the right hand, not to mention many other themes, social and psychological, Professor Oakley re-introduces the reader to the overlooked significance of being an embodied self. What an admirable work." Jonathan Miller, physician, satirist, writer, theatre director and television presenter
"A fascinating reflection on the meaning and experience of embodiment through the lens of an accident and its aftermath. Oakley draws on her distinguished career as a social science researcher and feminist to explore the interconnections between the body, medicine and ordinary life. A profoundly human book that sheds light on the common experiences of the body and age." Julia Twigg, Professor of Social Policy and Sociology, University of Kent