The last book I read was Flesh and Stone: The Body And The City In Western Civilization. It was written by Richard Sennett, an eminent American sociologist and professor at London School of Economics. It`s an essay about the history of body conceptions in the Western civilization. The core is the way in that the body conceptions are linked with city conceptions. In this sense, Sennett points out that the form of the city is crossed by different meanings that articulate senses of human relations. To justify the plot the author exhibits the presence of the body conceptions, its character and the inherent relations with the physical and symbolical form that the city acquires in different places in the history of Western civilization. The sociologist began analizing the situation in the Athens of Pericles, the Imperial Rome and the medieval Venice to end with an analysis of modern cities. The chapter that I consider most interesting is that that analyses the implications of the transition from pagans beliefs to Christianity in the meanings associated to the body and the city in the Imperial Rome. According to Sennett it was a transition from an exalting of “flesh and stone“ to an annullment of the body, that is expressed in a “ pilmigraje in time” of Christianity. Moreover, the text evidences the differences between the ancient and the modern Christianity, as well as the inconsistency between Christian dogmas and their social practices. Definitely, it’s an excellent essay in sociological terms. Its arguments are clear, fairly convincing and innovative. In addition, the author is one of the voices more important in the field of urban sociology. There's no doubt this is a book that social sciences students and people interested in the sociocultural processes linked to the development of the cities should read.
|Title page of the essay.|