TITLE

The government of girth

AUTHOR(S)
Coveney, John
PUB. DATE
August 2008
SOURCE
Health Sociology Review;Aug2008, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p199
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The current preoccupation with body weight in western cultures is arguably unprecedented. The obesity crisis has engaged not only health communities, but numerous other public and private organisations, and, in so doing, has created moral alarm as well as a medical crisis. This paper examines the development of obesity and will discuss the ways in which fatness has been rationalised within health discourses. It will explore the way that the corpulent body, once historically considered as a physiological state, is now regarded as a state of moral pathology representing an 'epidemic'. The prospect of this disease sweeping through populations, reaching into virtually every social group, is presented as all the more frightening when no known effective prevention or cure is at hand. The paper will look at the ways in which new forms of government have developed with the panoptic capacity to gaze across populations and objectify the everyday activities of individuals. This 'government of girth' reaches an apogee in the problematisation of children and body weight. Three subject positions in childhood provide a number of opportunities to problematise children: the sick child, the anti-social child, and the innocent child. Each of these amplifies concern about the state of health of children, the permissive nature of parenting and potential moral social decay.
ACCESSION #
34652039

 

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