Corporeal Economies

Work and Waste in Nineteenth-Century Constructions of Alimentation
  • Joyce L. Huff


In British and American culture today, the goal of dietary regimen is generally the elimination of body fat. But the science that underpins the regulation of our dietary intake, with the accompanying stigma that it attaches to fat, was not initially created in response to any real or imagined need to reduce the waistlines of the “well-fed classes:”1 This science had its roots in the 1860s, when medical officers appointed by the British government sought to eliminate the problem of malnutrition and the diseases it fostered among the poor of England. The public relief system by which food was distributed to the unemployed was badly in need of reform, but, as paupers were maintained at government expense, policymakers were working under economic constraints imposed from above. The problem in institutional diet reform was, as prison inspector Sir William Guy argued, how to feed the inmates of institutions without “overburdening” the public with the cost.2


Dynamic Body Nutritional Knowledge Carbonaceous Matter Health Inspector Nutritional Science 
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Copyright information

© Christopher E. Forth and Ana Carden-Coyne 2005

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  • Joyce L. Huff

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