'Normal gone bad': Health discourses, schools and the female body

Rich, Emma, Harjunen, Hannele and Evans, John (2006). 'Normal gone bad': Health discourses, schools and the female body. In: Vera Kalitzkus and Peter L. Twohig, At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries: Bordering biomedicine. Making Sense of: Health, Illness and Disease. 3rd Global Conference 2004, Oxford, U.K., (177-194). 5-9 July 2004.


Author Rich, Emma
Harjunen, Hannele
Evans, John
Title of paper 'Normal gone bad': Health discourses, schools and the female body
Formatted title
‘Normal gone bad’: Health discourses, schools and the female body
Conference name Making Sense of: Health, Illness and Disease. 3rd Global Conference 2004
Conference location Oxford, U.K.
Conference dates 5-9 July 2004
Proceedings title At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries: Bordering biomedicine   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Editions Rodopi
Publication Year 2006
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9789042019997
9042019999
ISSN 1570-7113
Editor Vera Kalitzkus
Peter L. Twohig
Volume 29
Start page 177
End page 194
Total pages 18
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
In recent years it has been argued that both the formal and informal contexts of education are heavily imbued with a ‘culture of healthism’ which places moral obligation and blame on individuals for their health. This paper explores the ways in which schools draw on such discourses of the body, health and illness in ways which attempt to normalize young women's bodies. In doing so, we bring together data from two separate research projects: a Finnish study of the social construction of obesity and women's personal experiences of being ‘fat,’ and an English study exploring young women's experiences of anorexia and/or bulimia. Whilst much has been written about the social construction of both these conditions they are almost always studied separately. Yet they both share a process of being positioned as ‘marginal’ or ‘pathological’ identities that fall outside of the ‘normal’ ‘healthy’ body ideal within western culture, and which are in need of ‘restoration.’ Both studies revealed school to be a central place where girls learn the boundaries of the acceptable or ideal female body in relation to weight and health.
©Editions Rodopi B.V.
Subjects 1608 Sociology
Keyword Schools
Health
Gender
Normalization
Obesity
Eating disorders
Q-Index Code E1
Additional Notes Presented during "Session 11: Constructing and De-constructing Women’s Bodies". Published under "Part 3: Biomedicine in a Socio-Cultural Context".

 
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Created: Tue, 30 Mar 2010, 11:36:24 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of Faculty Of Health Sciences