© 2013 – Routledge
135 pages | 1 B/W Illus.
In contemporary western societies the fat body has become a focus of stigmatizing discourses and practices aimed at disciplining, regulating and containing it. Despite the fact that in many western countries fat bodies outnumber those that are thin, fat people are still socially marginalized and treated with derision and even repulsion. Medical and public health experts insist that an ‘obesity epidemic’ exists and that fatness is a pathological condition which should be prevented and controlled.
Fat is a book about why the fat body has become so reviled and viewed as diseased, the target of such intense discussion and debate about ways to reduce its size down to socially and medically acceptable dimensions. It is also about the lived experience of fat embodiment: how does it feel to be fat in a fat-phobic society? Deborah Lupton explores fat as a cultural artefact: a bodily substance or body shape that is given meaning by complex and shifting systems of ideas, practices, emotions, material objects and interpersonal relationships.
Fat reviews current scholarship and research into obesity discourse and politics, drawing upon critical perspectives offered in the humanities and social sciences and by fat activism and the size acceptance movement. It will be an engaging introduction for the interested general reader, as well as for students across the humanities and social sciences.
'…a book which provides a handy, succinct and lively coverage of recent developments related to fatness, from medical discourses including the “obesity epidemic", critical weight studies and fat activism.'
'Fat is an excellent introduction to the study area: it is comprehensive, extremely well written and engaging throughout…. Moreover, the vast range of critical perspectives given alongside examination of popular culture and political activism make the text thoroughly relevant and a particularly worthy starting point for undergraduate readers or those new to the study of identity.'
-Sarah Burton, University of Glasgow, in the LSE Review of Books, posted 14 Jan 2013
"Fat is a comprehensive and highly useful introductory text, based on the most updated literature. It greatly facilitates our understanding of the complex ways by which fat stigma and weight bias are enacted in western, contmporary societies, and the various responses to this reality."— Maya Maor, Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society
1. Introduction 2. Thinking About Fat: A Review of Different Perspectives 3. Governing Fat Bodies 4. The Transgressive Fat Body 5. Being/Feeling Fat 6. Reframing Fat: Fat Activism and Size Acceptance Politics. Concluding Comments. Bibliography. Webliography. Glossary of Key Terms.
Shortcuts is a major new series of concise, accessible introductions to some of the major issues of our times. The series is developed as an A to Z coverage of emergent or new social, cultural and political phenomena. Issues and topics covered range from food to fat, from climate change to suicide bombing, from love to zombies. Whilst the principal focus of Shortcuts is the relevance of current issues, topics and debates to the social sciences and humanities, the books will also appeal to a wider audience seeking guidance on how to engage with today’s leading social, political and philosophical debates. Short and concise, the books will include cutting-edge pedagogical features such as a glossary of key terms, one-page argument summaries and a webliography.
Anthony Elliott is Director of the Hawke Research Institute, where he is Research Professor of Sociology at the University of South Australia. He is also Visiting Professor at University College Dublin, Ireland. His contact information is:
Professor Anthony Elliott, FASSA
Director, Hawke Research Institute
Research Professor of Sociology
University of South Australia
GPO Box 2471
Adelaide SA 5001
Tel.: 61 8 8302 1084
UCD School of Sociology
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 716 8674
Fax: +353 1 716 1125
Fat: An interview with Deborah Lupton