1st Edition

Digital Wellness, Health and Fitness Influencers Critical Perspectives on Digital Guru Media

Edited By Stefan Lawrence Copyright 2023
    232 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book examines the phenomenon of ‘digital guru media’ (DGM), the self-styled online influencers, life coaches, experts and entrepreneurs who post on the themes of wellness, health and fitness. 

    It opens up new perspectives on digital leisure and internet celebrity culture, and asks important questions about the social, cultural and psychological implications of our contemporary relationship with digital media. Drawing on cutting-edge social theory, the book explores a wide range of contexts in which DGM intersects with digital leisure, from the health-related learning of young people to the ‘clean eating’ movement, to the online lives of fitness professionals. It asks if digital and social media are problematic per se and explores the problems a turn to the Internet could be revealing about the lack of real-world or analogue support, as well as potential solutions, for our wellness, health and fitness needs and wants.

    Bringing together innovative, multi-disciplinary perspectives, this book is fascinating reading for anybody with an interest in leisure studies, media studies, cultural studies, sociology, or health and society.

    1          “I am Not Your Guru”: Situating Digital Guru Media Amidst the Neoliberal Imperative of Self-Health Management and the ‘Post-Truth’ Society

                Stefan Lawrence 

    2          Panic Fitness in Claustropolitan Times: Les Mills, Zombie Leisure and Deterritorialization

                Tara Brabazon 

    3          The Appearance of Authority in Health and Wellbeing Media: Analysing Digital Guru Media through Lacan’s ‘Big Other’

                Jack Black 

    4          Personal Science and the Quantified Self Guru

                Btihaj Ajana 

    5          Just a New Slant on a Very Old Story? Digital Guru Media Seen Through an Evolutionary Lens

                Tony Myers 

    6          Fitness Influencers and Their Digital Communities: Kayla Itsines and the (Re)Making of Fit Femininity

                Madison Magladry, Kim Toffoletti and Holly Thorpe 

    7          Digital Media and the Promotion of a Clean Eating Lifestyle: From “Glowing Femininities” to “Skinny Privilege”

                Roseline Nicholls and Paul Gilchrist 

    8          Fitness Trainers Perceptions of Social Media: I’m a Fitness Professional, Not an Influencer

                Sarah Wymer 

    9          Swoldiers in the Swole Nation: YouTube Fitness Vlogs and the Performance of Mental Health, Strength, and Happiness on Social Media

                Stephen Pihlaja 

    10        Young People, Social Media and Health: A Pedagogical Perspective on Influencers

                Victoria A. Goodyear 

    11        “Do you Love Me?” Virtual Sincerity and the Cyberspaces of Wonder in Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files

                Carlton Brick 

    12        Digital Guru Media for Self-Health Management and Wellbeing: The Good, the Bad, and the Pragmatic Strategies for Improvement

                William E. Donald


    Stefan Lawrence is Senior Lecturer in socio-cultural aspects of sport and leisure at Newman University, Birmingham, UK and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Leisure Studies Association, Editorial Board of Managing Sport and Leisure, Assistant Editorial Board of Leisure Sciences and Associate Editorial Board of Leisure Studies Journal. He is also Expert Evaluator to the European Commission’s ‘Citizens, Equality, Rights and Value’ (CERV) Programme.