The Birth of the Obesity Clinic: Confessions of the Flesh, Biopedagogies and Physical Culture

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Concordia University
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The recent construction of a so-called “obesity epidemic” has been fueled by epidemiologically-based studies recuperated by the media and suggestions of the rapid acceleration of obesity rates in the Western world. Studies linking obesity to ill-health have also exploded and greatly impacted our “physical” culture. In this article, I present a series of postcards to summarize the dominant obesity discourse and document the rhetorical terrain of the impending epidemic. I also offer counter-postcards to dispute the postcards’ objective postulations and contextualize the birth of what I call the “Obesity Clinic.” I then characterize this polymorphous clinic as an apparatus of capture sustained by biomedicalization, bioeconomics, and biocultural discourses and speak to its regulation and abjection of unruly (fat) bodies. I conclude with a few reflections about the territorializing nature of the Obesity Clinic as well as what it means for individuals and, more generally, for physical culture and its study.

Rail is with the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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