© 2008

Critical Bodies

Representations, Identities and Practices of Weight and Body Management

  • Sarah Riley
  • Maree Burns
  • Hannah Frith
  • Sally Wiggins
  • Pirkko Markula

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Introducing Critical Bodies: Representations, Identities and Practices of Weight and Body Management

  3. Representations and Constructions of Body Weight and Body Management

  4. Constructing Embodied Identities

  5. Meanings of Body Management Practices: Women’s Experiences

  6. Critical Bodies: Discourses of Health, Gender and Consumption

    1. Sarah Riley, Hannah Frith, Sally Wiggins, Pirkko Markula, Maree Burns
      Pages 193-203
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 204-206

About this book


Using work produced from the critical and postmodern arena in social sciences, this book examines three key areas - representation, identities and practice - to explore and interrogate how body and weight management, subjectivities, experiences and practices are constituted within and by the normative discourses of contemporary western culture.


gender nutrition object relations theory

Editors and affiliations

  • Sarah Riley
    • 1
  • Maree Burns
    • 2
  • Hannah Frith
    • 3
  • Sally Wiggins
    • 4
  • Pirkko Markula
    • 5
  1. 1.University of BathUK
  2. 2.Eating Difficulties Education NetworkAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.University of PlymouthUK
  4. 4.University of StrathclydeGlasgowUK
  5. 5.University of AlbertaCanada

About the editors

LUCY APHRAMOR is a Senior Health Promotion Specialist in Diet and Cardiovascular Health, and Senior Research Assistant at the Applied Research Centre, Coventry University, UK KATY DAY Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK JOHN EVANS Professor of Sociology of Education and Physical Education, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University ROSALIND GILL Professor of Social Psychology and Cultural Theory, Open University, UK DEBRA GIMLIN Lectures in Sociology, University of Aberdeen, UK JACQUE GINGRAS Assistant Professor, Ryerson University, School of Nutrition, Toronto, Canada COLLEEN HEENAN is a Psychotherapist and University Lecturer TAMMY KEYS graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, in 2003 with Joint Honours in Psychology and Sociology HELEN MALSON Reader in Social Psychology, Centre for Appearance Research and School of Psychology, University of West of England, Bristol, UK NICOLA GAVEY Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand EMMA RICH Lecturer in Physical Education, Gender, Identity and Health, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, UK PAULA SAUKKO Senior Lecturer in the ESRC-Centre for Genomics in Society, University of Exeter, UK

Bibliographic information


'The book demonstrates the persuasive power that inter- and multi-disciplinary discursive research can have when different versions are brought coherently to bear on an interconnected area of research. It will be of use to all researchers, and advanced students, who are interested in food, gender, the body, and, in particular, their pathologization under a medical gaze.' - Joseph Burridge, Discourse& Society

'The editorial group have successfully pulled together a coherent and diverse collection of nine chapters that offer a considerable breadth of material in relation to the, mainly but not exclusively, female body. Size, weight and the practices which produce and reproduce normative and rigid standards of desirable bodies are the central concerns.' - Liz Frost, Sociology of Health and Illness

'Critical Bodies is a well-structured text that presents a set of sophisticated, contemporary analyses of representations, identities and practices of weight and body management. The book contextualises body management practices in current health and gender related discourses, and provides a convincing account of the centrality of socio-political power dynamics in the production of embodiment.' - Lilliana del Busso, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology