Ferry, M.D., Richards, C.
Biopedagogy digitalized: ‘educational’ relations among participants on an online weight loss surgery forum
(2014) Critical Public Health. Article in Press.
Foucault uses the term ‘biopower’ to describe the totalizing effects of regulation of life through the manipulation of political messages, such as those in the obesity debate. This paper attempts to uncover ways in which these flows are made manifest among members of a public online weight loss surgery (WLS) discussion forum. Drawing from Foucauldian scholarship, we spent two-and-a-half years conducting a critical discourse analysis of over 2000 conversational threads on one US-based public discussion forum devoted to providing a support community to those who were considering WLS. Our intent is to analyze how ‘truths’ about the surgery are constructed among and between the community participants at different stages of the surgery to identify how they engage with ideologies associated with contemporary obesity and healthism.
biopedagogy; biopower; obesity; public pedagogy; weight loss surgery