Special Issue Journal of Human Geography and Environmental Studies

Special Issue 2, December 2018

Article Number: 10

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Modern practices of human body design: Pilot study – regional aspect

Merenkov, A., Antonova, N., and Purgina, E.

Pages 448-454

Abstract—The article deals with modern practices aimed at changing the human body. Today we can talk about the individual freedom of body design, which is understood as the actions of individuals and groups, aimed at transforming their corporeity, given by nature. Everyone can modify his/her body using modern techniques and technologies, change his/her sex and expand his/her sensuousness through mechanical and electronic gadgets. The person’s orientation to the body modification becomes the basis for the formation of new inequality, which, in fact, divides people into those who are included in the new civilization standard, and those who become hostages of their bodies. The active development of the beauty industry and the emergence of new professional groups testify to be in demand with the population practices of human body modification. However, their accessibility and quality become barriers that reinforce inequality in society. Despite the considerable researches on society inequality, there remains a lack of understanding as to how society inequality is connected with human body designing. Our study seeks to fill this gap. The major research objectives were to explore: different types of youth practices on body design and their access to them. Methodology and Methods: The object of our research is various representatives of professional groups whose activities are aimed at the transformation of the human body. The primary data was collected using a questionnaire. We developed the author's questionnaire consisting of 7 open questions. 32 respondents - fitness trainers (n =7), surgeons (n = 4), dieticians (n = 6), psychologists/psychotherapists (n = 6), fashion designers/stylists/hairdressers (n = 6) and tattooists (n= 3) were questioned in the city of Yekaterinburg. The survey data were processed using the methodology of the thematic network method. Results and discussion: Our research has shown that almost all the individuals turn to the experts whose activities are focused on the human body design. First of all, they tend to bring their corporeity up to code and certain norms reflecting the current socio-cultural daily life of modern society. At the same time, experts say that they seek in their work of reproduction such modifications of corporeity, which are reversible. Our research has revealed that the majority of the

respondents, turning to the experts are representatives of the youth community, for whom the modification of the body is the desire for self-realization and self-affirmation. Experts also note that some part of the youth turn to them again for the modification of their corporeity. Carrying out one manipulation with their bodies and satisfaction with the results leads to the fact that individuals begin to transform other parts of their bodies. Conclusion: Our research has elucidated that modern practices of body design become a product of homogenization and cultural integration, which includes representatives of different countries, communities and states. It should be noted that we observe the processes of daily living standardization in different cultures and societies through the practice of human body design, as well as the inequality in access to these practices for different social strata and groups.

Keywords—human body, corporeity, body design, practices of body design