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The Coming of the Body

A compelling analysis of how capitalism has given birth to the new sculpted, engineered and pleasure-seeking body.
In this startling new work, Hervé Juvin argues that developments in medicine and science are redefining what it means to be human. Living longer than ever before, and yet increasingly obsessed with longevity and youth, the people of the Western world face an existence disconnected from need, suffering and time—and they are losing their moral compass in the process.

New industries have sprung up to promote plastic surgery, sex-free reproduction, fitness fads and bizarre diets. Behind this commercial activity is an ideology sympathetic to both eugenics and euthanasia, and dreaming of immortality. In this radically changed world, young people inhabit a digitalized, virtual environment at a far remove from the vital experiences of the body.

Juvin’s central message is a sinister paradox: what communism set out to do, and disastrously failed to achieve, capitalism is in the process of realizing—the discredited messianic goal of reinventing humanity.

Reviews

  • “Offers much food for thought.”
  • “Stylish and bracing autopsy of postmodern corporalism.”

Blog

  • A Reading List for the Olympics: Part One

    Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague Marc Perelman

    Perelman’s book takes a subversive look at sport and global sporting events such as the Olympics to reveal their darker side. He argues that sport has become an instrument of political control and a vehicle for capitalist monoculture.  This timely polemic offers refreshing reading to those looking for an antidote to this summer’s Olympian frenzy. 

    Cities Under Siege: The New Military UrbanismStephen Graham

    This authoritative study examines the rapid and dangerous spread and normalization of surveillance and state policing in western cities and warzones alike under the guise of national security.  As such it provides an unsettling and provocative insight into the global backdrop of the rising costs and militarization of London’s Olympic Games security operation. 

    A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban BritainOwen Hatherley

    Hatherley’s critical tour of Britain’s urban centres incorporates the latest and most high profile attempt at regeneration offering a carefully considered indictment of the architectural and social failures of Stratford’s Olympic sites.

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  • “The Wound of Work” - Nina Power on Hervé Juvin's The Coming of the Body

    A talk by Nina Power at last year's Liverpool Bienniale, which takes Hervé Juvin's The Coming of the Body as the starting point for a discussion about the changing meaning of the body, and how it relates to work in the 21st century. 

    Visit the Liverpool Bienniale on Vimeo to see this talk and others including Chantal Mouffe, Simon Critchley and Alfredo Jaar. 

  • Steven Poole reviews The Coming of the Body for the Guardian

    Steven Poole finds much of interest in Hervé Juvin's The Coming of the Body:

    Secular westerners no longer believe in God, so they believe in their own bodies instead. Such at least is the message of Juvin's stylish and bracing autopsy of postmodern corporalism, from the health'n'fitness and lifestyle-drug industries to the "production" of children, and the general ideal of life as risk-free and ruled by pleasure.

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