Media, ‘Fat Panic’ and Public Pedagogy: Mapping Contested Terrain

Lee F. Monaghan, Emma Rich, Andrea E. Bombak

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16 Citations (SciVal)
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Discourses regarding a ‘global obesity crisis’ and alternative frames (e.g. weight-inclusive approaches to health) have proliferated through various media of communication. These media range from traditional print and visual formats (e.g. newspapers and television shows) to digital media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), which enable different publics to produce, and not just consume, text, images and other data relating to the body. Reflecting a sociological understanding of educational practices as extending beyond formal schooling, mediated obesity discourse and counter-movements have also been conceptualised as public pedagogies, which instruct people how to relate to their own and other's bodies, health and subjectivities. This article examines what is critically known about various media at a time when governments and agencies are reinvigorating the global war on obesity, with populations being ‘advised’ to become and remain conscientious weight watchers. In conclusion, the article underscores the salience of social studies of the media when seeking to rethink obesity, incorporating critical reference to moral panic theory and the need to better understand what media can ‘do’ as enactments of public pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12651
JournalSociology Compass
Issue number1
Early online date18 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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