There's more to class than 'chav': Revisiting class and health and physical activity policy

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The governance of the (un)healthy and (in)active body is a central concern for policy and the inexorable rise of health as a regulative discourse has been exacerbated in recent years by contemporary discourse and policy around obesity. What is more within sport, health and physical activity policy a rhetoric of effort, accountability and responsibility can be read in classed ways that conceptualize the working class as a homogenous group. The reconstitution of health, wellbeing and the body through these discourses and policies is seen to culminate in the establishment of a biocitizenship of the present – a biocitizenship predicated on the practices and performances of the body. We argue that the targeting of the ‘working class body’ in this obesity discourse results in narrow readings of health through notions of inadequate or irresponsible working class behaviour to the wider social order; a tendency to speak of the working class rather than the working classes. This paper draws on research that focuses on young people’s classed and embodied experiences of physical culture and health policy across a range of school sites in the UK. We highlight the power of privilege to pathologise through the reduction of the complexities of class to readable bodies such as the ‘chav’ and we problematise this in relation to the multifaceted ways in which class enables or constrains physical activity and health opportunities and constitutes embodied subjectivities. Thus, we ask whether current sport health and physical activity policy adequately captures the complexities of the cultural and class dimension of health.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2013
EventSport, Politics and Policy Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association - University of Bath, Bath, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Feb 20132 Feb 2013

Conference

ConferenceSport, Politics and Policy Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association
CountryUK United Kingdom
CityBath
Period2/02/132/02/13

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Keywords

  • Social Class
  • Youth
  • Health
  • Obesity
  • obesity policy

Cite this

De Pian, L., Francombe-Webb, J., & Rich, E. (2013). There's more to class than 'chav': Revisiting class and health and physical activity policy. Paper presented at Sport, Politics and Policy Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association, Bath, UK United Kingdom.