Chris Shilling claims in his book, The Body and Social Theory (1993), that the general theme in Mary Douglas’s work is the concept that “the social body constrains how the physical body is perceived and experienced” (Shilling 2003, p. 65). In other words, for Douglas, it is society that decides both our appearance (dress) and our deportment. Douglas’s consideration of the relationship between the self and society does convey a kind of truth about both our life and our society. However, when individuality, equality and freedom become the dominant ideologies in our contemporary society, it seems that such a concept cannot hold true any more, as it did in the previous centuries.
中間是body部分，具體闡述觀點，並給出分析，道格拉斯關於身體的概念，“一切都象徵著身體”，而“身體象徵著一切”。在這個概念中，道格拉斯的目標是展示身體與周圍社會之間的重要關係：身體和社會反映彼此的特點。在同一篇文章中，道格拉斯認為身體既是社會的代表 - “複雜的結構”，它可以“為其他複雜結構提供符號的來源”，也可以認為是“社會的象徵”，因為相信社會結構的權力和危險。
Douglas’s concept of the body, “everything symbolises the body” while “the body symbolises everything else” (Douglas 2002: p. 123), discussed in Purity and Danger (1966), became a fundamental subject in anthropology (Synnott 2002: p. 229). In this concept, Douglas aims to show an important relationship between the body and society around it: the body and society reflect each other’s characteristics. In the same writing, Douglas considers the body as both the representation of society – “a complex structure” which can “afford a source of symbols for other complex structures”, and as “a symbol of society” due to the fact that “the powers and dangers credited to social structure [were] reproduced in small on the human body” (Douglas 2002: p. 142). Four years later in another work, Natural Symbols (1970), Douglas divides the body into two parts: “The two bodies are the self and society” (Douglas 1996: p. 87). In other words, according to Douglas, we possess two sorts of bodies: one is “the self”, our physical or naturalistic body, a biological entity; the other refers to our social body, or the body as a symbol or metaphor of society, as it is “constructed within ideological and social processes” (Blackman 2008, p. 28). Douglas develops her view in detail as follows: “The social body constrains the way the physical body is perceived. The physical experience of the body, always modified by the social categories through which it is known, sustains a particular view of society” (Douglas 1996: p. 69).
結尾部分給出總結，總而言之，在介紹先令關於道格拉斯主題的陳述時，我們首先探討了道格拉斯關於身體和社會的觀念以及她對他們關係的看法。在道格拉斯的眼中，我們的身體可以分為兩種 - 我們的社會身體和我們的身體：它是我們的社會身體決定我們身體的外觀和舉止;而我們的身體是社會的隱喻或象徵，是社會的代表。
To conclude, in introducing Shilling’s statement of Douglas’s theme, we first explored Douglas’s idea about the body and society and her view on their relationship. In Douglas’s eyes, our body can be divided into two sorts – our social body and our physical body: it is our social body that decides the appearance and the deportment of our physical body; while our physical body is a metaphor or symbol of society, a representation of society. Douglas’s concept resonates with that of other scholars, such as Shilling and Foucault. Then, through a discussion of Woolf’s novel, Orlando: A Biography, we considered that Douglas’s or her group’s idea seems to convey some truth about social relationship in the past centuries. However, in the last part of this essay, we showed that such a concept couldn’t be used to discuss the body in our contemporary era any more.