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Abstract

Social and Critical Psychology have been accused of ‘disembodying’ the discipline through the negation of embodied experience. In contrast, Bio-Medicine and Biological Psychology focus on the body, within a realist framework. A material-discursive approach, and a critical-realist epistemology, is proposed as a way forward to examine embodiment in a socio-cultural context, wherein the materiality of the body is recognised, but always mediated by culture, language, and subjectivity. As a case example, women's experience of embodied change at menopause is examined. The bio-medical positioning of the menopausal body as the site of disease, distress, and debilitation, necessitating medical management, is contrasted with women's reports of minimal distress, and effective negotiation of midlife changes. Cultural context, relational factors and the positioning of embodied changes as symptoms, or as natural, are key factors determining women's coping. This material-discursive approach thus allows us to ‘re-embody’ psychology and move beyond the mind–body divide.