Eating Anxiety: The Perils of Food Politics by Chad Lavin

By Chad Lavin

Consuming nervousness argues that our culture’s obsession with nutrition, weight problems, meat, and native meals enacts ideological and biopolitical responses to perceived threats to either person and nationwide sovereignty. Exploring discourses of foodstuff politics, Chad Lavin hyperlinks the troubles of food—especially problems with sustainability, public future health, and inequality—to the evolution of the area order and the probabilities for democratic rule.

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Overweight bodies were diagnosed with faulty desires, not slow metabolisms, and the key to weight loss was appetite control and will power. Out with dinitrophenol and diuretics; in with appetite suppressants and psychological treatments of compulsive eating. a. “speed”) was never to boost metabolism, but to suppress appetite. S. 42 This period also saw a proliferation of “high satiety” diets designed to trick the body into feeling full, and the aforementioned proliferation of diet sodas and light beer that would allow people to indulge without gaining weight.

18 The capture of diet by the discourse of economics, thus, corresponds to a privatization of political power under the guise of liberalism. 19 Whereas in conventional labor this transaction happens as the self extends itself into the world, diet moves the space of labor to the internal domain of the individual body; it is intensive (rather than extensive) labor. 20 Seeing diet as just another form of domestic work, it makes sense that the discourse of diet has been largely associated with women, who have long been largely excluded from the realms of extensive labor (economics and politics).

Indb 4 . ”11 Twentieth-century diet literature, that is, operates with a thoroughly rationalized body that can be controlled, predicted, and manipulated with the established techniques of medical and economic science. For Foucault, this capture of diet by an economic and medical science corresponds to the rise not only of the human sciences and industrialization but to a mode of control in which people are given the tools and the motivations to govern themselves. ”13 From this perspective, the capture of diet by economics is less interesting than the proliferation of dietary discourse in general, such that managing one’s weight became a tool of self-governance, and individuals were afforded both the ability and the motivation to ensure the productive and predictable development of their own body toward the end of smooth economic development.

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