Online talk around obesity-related news media: Connecting information delivery with public perceptions

Phillip Brooker, Julia Barnett, John Vines, Tom Feltwell, Shaun Lawson

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


Research on weight stigma typically embodies one of two approaches; the
study of top-down information delivery from governments or media,
or the study of ground-up perceptions of weight stigma as experienced by obesity sufferers or the public. This research seeks to explore the connection between the two, investigating how delivered information and public opinion becomes enmeshed through collaboratively constructed online commentaries around obesity-related news articles. Here, we take
the demonstrative case of a UK news article depicting a recent European
Union court ruling that ostensibly may establish a precedent for a
definition of obesity as a disability in EU employment law, and the
comments that follow that article (
society/2014/dec/18/obesity-can-be-disability-eu-court-rules: last
accessed 06/05/15). Using ‘Frame Analysis’ techniques (Goffman, 1974;
Saguy, 2013), we explore how the issue is framed differently across the
article and the public commentary around it, and how public
commentators themselves construct their debate with competing frames.
Finally, inspired by a growing body of work in the field of human-computer interaction, the study considers how such analyses might
inform the design of critical interventions that counter weight stigma through online tools and platforms that facilitate more empathetic online conversations around obesity and promote more critical readings of delivered information.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication3rd Annual International Weight Stigma Conference
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2015
Event3rd Annual International Weight Stigma Conference - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 18 Sept 201519 Sept 2015


Conference3rd Annual International Weight Stigma Conference


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