Anticipating fatness: childhood, affect and the pre-emptive ‘war on obesity’

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Abstract

This paper draws together recent geographical work on fatness, pre-emptive biopolitics, affect and childhood in order to question the spatiotemporalities of obesity policy in the UK. Through analysis of key policy documents and associated media coverage, the paper questions the dystopian production of the future nation in obesity policy; the role of affect in making futures felt as realities which can be acted on in the present; and the role of childhood and children’s bodies within such policy. It argues that children are central to the production and pre-emption of obese futures because of the affective potential of childhood and the paradoxical position of children’s bodies both as children in the present and adults of the future. The paper concludes by arguing that obesogenic environment theories are fundamentally problematic and that recognition of the temporalities as well as the spatialities of obesity is necessary for a balanced critical geography.

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