Interpreting Weight: The Social Management of Fatness and Thinness

Interpreting Weight: The Social Management of Fatness and Thinness

by Donna Maurer
     
 

What is "too fat?" "Too thin"? Interpretations of body weight vary widely across and within cultures. Meeting weight expectations is a major concern for many people because failing to do so may incur dire social consequences, such as difficulty in finding a romantic partner or even in locating adequate employment. Without these social and

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Overview

What is "too fat?" "Too thin"? Interpretations of body weight vary widely across and within cultures. Meeting weight expectations is a major concern for many people because failing to do so may incur dire social consequences, such as difficulty in finding a romantic partner or even in locating adequate employment. Without these social and cultural pressures, body weight would be only a health issue. While socially constructed standards of body weight may seem immutable, they are continuously re-created through social interactions that perpetuate or transform expectations about fatness and thinness.

Understanding social constructions of body weight requires insight regarding how people develop and use constructions in their daily lives. While structural conditions and cultural environments make important contributions to weight constructions, the chapters in this book focus on the social processes in which people engage while they interpret, negotiate, resist, and transform cultural definitions and expectations. As such, most of the chapters in this volume borrow from and contribute to a symbolic interactionist perspective.

Written by sociologists, psychologists, and nutritionists, all of the chapters in Interpreting Weight focus on how people construct fatness and thinness. The contributors examine different strategies used to interpret body weight, such as negotiating weight identities, reinterpreting weight, and becoming involved in weight-related organizations. Together, these chapters emphasize the many ways that people actively define, construct, and enact their fatness and thinness in a variety of settings and situations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780202305783
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
12/31/1999
Series:
Social Problems and Social Issues Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
276
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. IIntroduction
1The Social Management of Fatness and Thinness3
Pt. IIWeight Identities
2The Adoption and Management of a "Fat" Identity11
3Identity Management among Overweight Women: Narrative Resistance to Stigma29
4Fighting Back: Reactions and Resistance to the Stigma of Obesity49
Pt. IIIRedefining Weight
5From "Dieting" to "Healthy Eating": An Exploration of Shifting Constructions of Eating for Weight Control73
6Medical Discourse on Body Image: Reconceptualizing the Differences between Women with and without Eating Disorders89
7Weight and Weddings: The Social Construction of Beautiful Brides113
Pt. IVOrganizational Processes in Weight Management
8Let Go and Let God: Religion and the Politics of Surrender in Overeaters Anonymous139
9Fat World/Thin World: "Fat Busters," "Equivocators," "Fat Boosters," and the Social Construction of Obesity165
10Creating "Uniformity": The Construction of Bodies in Women's Collegiate Cross Country183
Pt. VReinterpreting Weight
11Pounds of Flesh: Weight, Gender, and Body Images209
12Re-evaluating, the Weight-Centered Approach Toward Health: The Need for a Paradigm Shift229
Biographical Sketches of the Contributors255
Index259

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