Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism (California Studies in Food and Culture)

Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism (California Studies in Food and Culture)

Julie Guthman

Language: English

Pages: 248

ISBN: 0520266250

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism (California Studies in Food and Culture)

Julie Guthman

Language: English

Pages: 248

ISBN: 0520266250

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Weighing In takes on the “obesity epidemic,” challenging many widely held assumptions about its causes and consequences. Julie Guthman examines fatness and its relationship to health outcomes to ask if our efforts to prevent “obesity” are sensible, efficacious, or ethical. She also focuses the lens of obesity on the broader food system to understand why we produce cheap, over-processed food, as well as why we eat it. Guthman takes issue with the currently touted remedy to obesity—promoting food that is local, organic, and farm fresh. While such fare may be tastier and grown in more ecologically sustainable ways, this approach can also reinforce class and race inequalities and neglect other possible explanations for the rise in obesity, including environmental toxins. Arguing that ours is a political economy of bulimia—one that promotes consumption while also insisting upon thinness—Guthman offers a complex analysis of our entire economic system.

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despite its nods to broader liberties. As a practical political philosophy, neoliberalism has guided policy efforts to privatize public resources and spaces; minimize labor costs through, for example, defanging unions; reduce public expenditures on entitlements, subsidies, and other sorts of redistributive welfare (public health services, public education); eliminate regulations seen as unfriendly to business, especially health, labor, and other environmental protections; and reduce taxes in

conflate self-care and particular embodiments with personal responsibility and good citizenship.2 The course made them mad, in other words, because they had a horse in the race. They had been educated in healthism, a key idea that was born about a decade before they were. from healthism to biological citizenship The term healthism was first coined by the sociologist Robert Crawford in 1980 to “describe a striking moralization of health among middle-class Americans,” so that health became a

body is controversial. Therefore, epidemiological evidence remains the primary way to cross-verify the experimental data. Clearly, epidemiological data are not foolproof or unproblematic. Yet, spotting trends in virulent disease or toxic exposure does seem a more appropriate use of epidemiology than as a medical diagnostic tool or reference for self-management, as discussed in chapters 2 and 3. The epidemiological data, although thus far limited by the number of studies, do provide important

the economy and with their bodies, they may even have a personal stake in upholding market alternatives rather than addressing structural inequality, which might lead to their losing wealth or income. In contrast to, say, paying higher taxes so that others may eat well through food assistance programs, participating in the pleasures of alternative food requires little sacrifice at all. Basically, it allows foodies to have their food and eat it too. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in

food is enough. It is not. So, regardless of whether alternative food really is better tasting and good for you and maybe even will help you lose weight, it is this sort of indifference to class, race, and, frankly, the dynamics of capitalism that ultimately limits what a food movement can do. To capitalism I now turn. c07.indd 162 7/19/2011 5:12:11 PM CHAPTER 8 What’s Capitalism Got to Do with It? On October 14, 2009, the Colbert Report (a faux news/comedy television show) featured Amy

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