Healthism and schools

Rich, E., Evans, J. and Allwood, R. (2005). Healthism and schools. In: British Psychological Society Seminar Series 2005. Weighty issues: Representation, Identity and Practice in the areas of Eating Disorders, Obesity and Body Management, Bristol University of West of England, (). 2005.

Author Rich, E.
Evans, J.
Allwood, R.
Title of paper Healthism and schools
Conference name Weighty issues: Representation, Identity and Practice in the areas of Eating Disorders, Obesity and Body Management
Conference location Bristol University of West of England
Conference dates 2005
Proceedings title British Psychological Society Seminar Series 2005
Place of Publication Bristol, England
Publisher Bristol University of West of England
Publication Year 2005
Language eng
Abstract/Summary In recent years, there have been increasing concerns in Western Society over the status of our health, and the vulnerability of our bodies to ‘chronic diseases’. In particular, much is being made of the widely reported worldwide ‘obesity epidemic’. A range of health cultures relating to the body, weight and health pervade western societies and are recycled daily, not just through the mindsets and actions of health professionals and teachers but via various media (TV, web sites), within family life and over many other social domains. These discourses are reflected in almost daily ‘health risk scares’, for example, that we are in the midst of an ‘obesity epidemic’ and should make stronger efforts to exercise, stay active and become thin (Evans, 2003). In this paper, we explore how these wider contemporary health discourses are re-cycled in schools, in ways which can have a deleterious rather than beneficial consequence on the lives of young people. To do so, we draw upon data from interviews with young women with eating disorders at a leading clinic for the treatment of eating disorders in the UK. Reflected in these narratives are a range of new orthodoxies which have emerged in the curriculum in schools, relating to the body (size, shape), health and self (Evans, Davies & Wright, 2004). The experiences of the young women in the study point towards the ways in which schools, despite their best intentions, are implicated in constructing contexts which are inimical to the well being of young women who have been diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia and perhaps others who are making sense of their bodies, health and selves in these cultures. We will suggest that experiences such as these are, at least in part, an ‘effect’ of professional practices that now are constituted and encoded by two powerful (deeply damaging) cultures: ‘performativity’ (Ball, 2004) and ‘healthism’ (Greco, 1993: 357).
Subjects 130210 Physical Education and Development Curriculum and Pedagogy
160508 Health Policy
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

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Created: Wed, 04 Mar 2009, 13:09:18 EST by Ms Lynette Adams on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences