Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Amelia Morris, The Politics of Weight. Feminist Dichotomies of Power in Dieting, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019

This book speaks to the politics of weight through an interrogation of dieting, power and the body. In feminist theory, there is no greater site of contestation than that of the body, and Morris explores how these debates often become centred upon a dichotomy between oppression and liberation. Whilst there is a vast diversity of scholarship that challenges this binary including post-colonial, post-structuralist and Marxist feminist work, the dichotomy nevertheless endures. The Politics of Weight argues that the ‘feminine’ body is not simply a site of oppression or liberation by drawing upon the intersections that exist between Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and post-structuralist feminist work on the body. This provides a unique lens for exploring weight. Through in-depth analysis of interviews with women who seemingly sit on either side of the ‘oppression’ and ‘liberation’ debate, members of dieting clubs and fat activists, the book highlights the complexities that surround women’s relationship to weight and the body. Likewise it draws upon the wealth of black feminist scholarship to explore the discourses surrounding Oprah Winfrey’s dieting ‘journey,’ seeking to demonstrate how discipline and race interact and how this plays out in dieting and weight.

The Politics of Weight will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of disciplines, including gender studies, sociology, geography and political science.

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