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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines a methodological approach to studying the body and embodiment in political and historical sociology. The advantage of incorporating the body into the study of political and historical sociology is that it captures how the body exerts causal effects on political outcomes. In particular, it will show how embodiment explains (1) the importance of affect on the formation of political knowledge, (2) how bodies produce meanings independent of their original construct and persist after the social group dissolves, and (3) a specific connection point between mobilization and the state response to the social movement. To illustrate, this chapter shows how the racially threatening embodied performance was both vital to the Black Panther Party’s success and served as the focal point for elite white and state actors to mobilize against racial equality in the post–civil rights era.

Keywords: embodiment, methodology, Black Panthers, social movement, political sociology

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