Saturated: a study in fat obsession
Cowley, N. A. (2006). Saturated: a study in fat obsession (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2461
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2461
This thesis examines both contemporary and historical meanings surrounding human body FAT in order to illuminate, chiefly, the forces that have rendered it both an omnipresent and negative entity in Western societies. It explores the apparent contradiction that we must exist amidst hyper-consumptive capitalism yet display no bodily evidence of such consumption. Along with an investigation into alternative bodily conceptions to that of the hegemonic West, a discourse analysis is employed to challenge the key assumptions that underpin the current 'obesity epidemic' and its ensuing 'war on obesity' so that body FAT may be configured differently. It is shown that, because bodily conceptions and ideals are complex cultural constructions, body FAT, as a substance, is not the scourge it is presently portrayed, but rather a substance that signifies most of what consumer society despises and fears. It is argued that the 'war on obesity' has not been successful, and will continue to be ineffective, because the focus should not be on losing body FAT but rather on the conditions of poverty that generate overall ill-health. It is concluded that such a 'war', if sustained in its current fashion, will only serve to further malign the situations of those deemed 'overweight and obese'.
The University of Waikato
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