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Vogel, E. (2018). Metabolism and Movement: Calculating food and exercise or activating bodies in Dutch weight management. BioSocieties, 13(2), 389-407
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Metabolism and Movement: Calculating food and exercise or activating bodies in Dutch weight management
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
Keywords
metabolism, eating, exercise, health promotion, food, body
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147689 (URN)10.1057/s41292-017-0076-x (DOI)000449364200004 ()
Available from: 2018-05-06 Created: 2018-05-06 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved
Vogel, E. (2018). Operating (on) the self: transforming agency through obesity surgery and treatment. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40(3), 508-522
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operating (on) the self: transforming agency through obesity surgery and treatment
2018 (English)In: Sociology of Health and Illness, ISSN 0141-9889, E-ISSN 1467-9566, Vol. 40, no 3, p. 508-522Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, I describe the processes through which patients diagnosed with 'morbid obesity' become active subjects through undergoing obesity surgery and an empowerment lifestyle programme in a Dutch obesity clinic. Following work in actor-network theory and material semiotics that complicates the distinction between active and passive subjects, I trace how agency is configured and re-distributed throughout the treatment trajectory. In the clinic's elaborate care assemblage - consisting of dieticians, exercise coaches and psychologists - the person is not only actively involved in his/her own change, the subject of intervention is the self as 'actor': his/her material constitution, inclinations and feelings. The empirical examples reveal that a self becomes capable of self-care only after a costly and laborious conditioning through which patients are completely transformed. In this work, the changed body, implying a new, potentially disruptive reality that patients must learn to cope with, is pivotal to what the patient can do and become. Rather than striving to be disembodied, self-contained liberal subjects that make sensible decisions for their body, patients become empowered through submission and attachment and by arranging support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2018
Keywords
actor network theory, embodiment, obesity, self-help/care, subjectivity, surgeons/surgery
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147690 (URN)10.1111/1467-9566.12654 (DOI)000428466800009 ()29235133 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85044413288 (Scopus ID)
Note

Funding Agencies|ERC [249397]

Available from: 2018-05-06 Created: 2018-05-06 Last updated: 2019-12-04Bibliographically approved
Vogel, E. (2017). Hungers that need feeding: On the normativity of mindful nourishment. Anthropology & Medicine, 24(2), 159-173
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hungers that need feeding: On the normativity of mindful nourishment
2017 (English)In: Anthropology & Medicine, ISSN 1364-8470, E-ISSN 1469-2910, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 159-173Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Drawing on participant observation in a ‘mindful weight loss’ course offered in the Netherlands, this paper explores the normative register through which mindfulness techniques cast people in relation to concerns with overeating and body weight. The women seeking out mindfulness use eating to cope with troubles in their lives and are hindered by a preoccupation with the size of their bodies. Mindfulness coaches aim to help them let go of this ‘struggle with eating’ by posing as the central question: ‘what do I really hunger after?’ The self's hungers include ‘belly hunger’ but also stem from mouths, hearts, heads, noses and eyes. They cannot all be fed by food. The techniques detailed in this paper focus on recognizing and disentangling one's hungers; developing self-knowledge of and a sensitivity to what ‘feeds’ one's life; and the way one positions oneself in relation to oneself and the world. While introducing new norms, the course configures ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ in different ways altogether, shaping the worlds people come to inhabit through engaging in self-care. In particular, the hungering body is foregrounded as the medium through which life is lived. Taking a material semiotic approach, this paper makes an intervention by articulating the normative register of nourishment in contrast to normalization. Thus, it highlights anthropologists’ potential strengthening of different ways of doing normativity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2017
Keywords
mindfulness, obesity, self-care, material semiotics, normalization
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147696 (URN)10.1080/13648470.2016.1276322 (DOI)000410835800004 ()28504592 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85019269511 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-05-06 Created: 2018-05-06 Last updated: 2018-05-09Bibliographically approved
Vogel, E. (2016). Clinical specificities in obesity care: The transformations and dissolution of ‘Will’ and ‘Drives’. Health Care Analysis, 24(4), 321-337
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Clinical specificities in obesity care: The transformations and dissolution of ‘Will’ and ‘Drives’
2016 (English)In: Health Care Analysis, ISSN 1065-3058, E-ISSN 1573-3394, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 321-337Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Public debate about who or what is to blame for the rising rates of obesity and overweight shifts between two extreme opinions. The first posits overweight as the result of a lack of individual will, the second as the outcome of bodily drives, potentially triggered by the environment. Even though apparently clashing, these positions are in fact two faces of the same liberal coin. When combined, drives figure as a complication on the road to health, while a strong will should be able to counter obesity. Either way, the body's propensity to eat is to be put under control. Drawing on fieldwork in several obesity clinics and prevention sites in the Netherlands, this paper first traces how this 'logic of control' presents itself in clinical practices targeted at overweight people, and then goes on to explore how these practices move beyond that logic. Using the concepts of 'will' and 'drives' as analytical tools, I sketch several modes of ordering reality in which bodies, subjects, food and the environment are configured in different ways. In this way it appears that in clinical practices the terms found in public discourse take on different meanings and may even lose all relevance. The analysis reveals a richness of practiced ideals. The paper argues, finally, that making visible these alternative modes of ordering opens up a space for normative engagements with obesity care that move beyond the logic of control and its critiques.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer-Verlag New York, 2016
Keywords
bodily drives, clinical practices, control, discourse, modes of ordering, obesity
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147695 (URN)10.1007/s10728-014-0278-3 (DOI)000387350000003 ()24934390 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84902238559 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-05-06 Created: 2018-05-06 Last updated: 2018-05-09Bibliographically approved
Vogel, E. (2014). Enjoy your food: on losing weight and taking pleasure. Sociology of Health and Illness, 36(2), 305-317
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enjoy your food: on losing weight and taking pleasure
2014 (English)In: Sociology of Health and Illness, ISSN 0141-9889, E-ISSN 1467-9566, Vol. 36, no 2, p. 305-317Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Does healthy eating require people to control themselves and abstain from pleasure? This idea is dominant, but in our studies of dieting in The Netherlands we encountered professionals who work in other ways. They encourage their clients to enjoy their food, as only such joy provides satisfaction and the sense that one has eaten enough. Enjoying one's food is not easy. It depends on being sensitive. This does not come naturally but needs training. And while one kind of hunger may be difficult to distinguish from another, feeling pleasure may open the doors to feeling pain. What is more, sensitivity is not enough: enjoying one's food also depends on the food being enjoyable. A lot of care is required for that. But while engaging in such care is hard work, along the way clients are encouraged to no longer ask 'Am I being good?' but to wonder instead 'Is this good for me?' Both these questions are normative and focus on the person rather than on her socio-material context. However, in the situations related here the difference is worth making. For it entails a shift from externally controlling your behaviour to self-caringly enjoying your food.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc., 2014
Keywords
behaviour, food, pleasure, self-care, sensitivity
National Category
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147694 (URN)10.1111/1467-9566.12116 (DOI)000334354900013 ()24528307 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84894039677 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-05-06 Created: 2018-05-06 Last updated: 2018-05-15Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-8319-0975

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