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Reframing Health and Health Policy in IrelandA Governmental Analysis$
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Claire Edwards and Eluska Fernández

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719095870

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719095870.001.0001

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32 and 37 inches – the healthy body and the politics of waist circumference: a governmental analysis of the Stop the Spread campaign

32 and 37 inches – the healthy body and the politics of waist circumference: a governmental analysis of the Stop the Spread campaign

Chapter:
(p.72) 4 32 and 37 inches – the healthy body and the politics of waist circumference: a governmental analysis of the Stop the Spread campaign
Source:
Reframing Health and Health Policy in Ireland
Author(s):

Fiona Dukelow

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719095870.003.0004

This chapter focuses on a the 2011 health promotion campaign Stop the Spread, part of which involved the distribution of measuring tapes to the population via pharmacies to encourage people to measure their waists. Drawing on an analysis of campaign materials, the chapter explores the significance of Stop the Spread as a governmental technology and form of biopower in which medical discourse was utilised in an effort to not only re-programme ideas of what a normal healthy body should measure and look like, but also to more directly attempt to change behaviour by gifting people the technology to measure themselves, and to ultimately inscribe those numbers on their bodies. This chapter provides insights into how neoliberal governmentality is evolving in relation to public health policy, not least in the context of soft paternalism which is more directive in its use of techniques and strategies to steer norms and behaviour, whilst remaining highly individualised in terms of its understanding of health and its determinants.

Keywords:   governmental technology, bodies, norms, waist circumference, biopower, health promotion campaign, neoliberal governmentality

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