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Vulnerable/dangerous bodies? The trials and tribulations of sleep

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Abstract

Sleep provides us with a unique vantage point on the sociology of living in/as a body. We are sleeping as well as waking beings. Sleeping, moreover, is embodied and embedded in the social world. Whilst many of us derive great comfort or pleasure from our sleep, this chapter explores the other face of sleep, namely the vulnerabilities and dangers it embodies and engenders, potentially at least, to self and others. This in turn provides the basis, towards the end of the chapter, for a broader series of sociological reflections on the growing problematization or politics of sleep in a 24/7 risk society where sleep is now becoming a matter of ‘public concern’. Sleep, it is concluded, is a crucial yet sociologically overlooked aspect of our embodiment; a shared embodied vulnerability that, at one and the same time, unites and divides us.

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