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Title: Neoliberal bodies: ideology and obesity
Authors: McFarland, Virginia
Keywords: Neoliberalism,;ideology;policy;governance;discourse analysis;Foucault;Smith
Issue Date: 2-Jun-2020
Abstract: Recent reconsideration of the history of 20th century obesity research suggests that the etiology1 of obesity has been fundamentally misunderstood or misrepresented (Gard & Wright, 2005; Guthman, 2011; Phinney & Volek, 2011; Taubes, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2016; Teicholz, 2014). The reasons for this are manifold and one is that 20th century obesity research is fraught with bias. There is a temporal overlap between the establishment of the modern theory of obesity and the entrenchment of neoliberalism in Western countries. I posit that the evidence of the influence of neoliberalism is discernible when considering both how the etiology of obesity has been [mis]understood and how the obese are characterized. Further, I argue that neoliberal policy and governance have contributed to increased levels of obesity. Through discourse analysis (Foucault, 1972) and institutional ethnography (Smith, 2005), I consider the ways in which neoliberalism and the social organization of scientific knowledge have influenced obesity science. I also identify how the resultant conceptualization of obesity that appears in Canadian public health reports reflects neoliberal ideological bias.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses
Sociology / Sociologie - Master's Theses

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