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Metabolism and Movement: Calculating food and exercise or activating bodies in Dutch weight management
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Science, Technology and Valuation Practices)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8319-0975
2018 (English)In: BioSocieties, ISSN 1745-8552, E-ISSN 1745-8560, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 389-407Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the Netherlands, I explore how weight management practices adapt scientific knowledge to the pragmatics of daily life. I contrast two ‘metabolic logics’: one premises calculating food and exercise to ensure energy balance; the other, operating as a critique to the first, puts its hope in activating people’s metabolic rate. Metabolic logics, I stress, do not just present ideas on bodily functioning. They are also and importantly a practical and material affair. The first approach incites a desire and sense of responsibility in people to have control over and correct their bodies, while the second, foregrounding less measurable forms of health, hinges on a person’s responsivity and trust in other active entities. Metabolic practices do not merely follow scientific insights into how fat comes about; they include estimations of what knowledge is helpful in daily life when overweight is a concern. However, innovation is difficult, as in exercise machines, recommended dietary intakes or diet shakes, figures of food as fuel and bodies as machines stubbornly sediment. In conclusion, I suggest that when ‘thinking metabolically’ we address metabolism as part of the socio-material practices that narrate eating, bodies and moving together in particular ways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Vol. 13, no 2, p. 389-407
Keywords [en]
metabolism, eating, exercise, health promotion, food, body
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147689DOI: 10.1057/s41292-017-0076-xISI: 000449364200004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-147689DiVA, id: diva2:1204048
Available from: 2018-05-06 Created: 2018-05-06 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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