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Weighing In

Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism

Julie Guthman (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 248 pages
ISBN: 9780520266254
November 2011
$28.95, £19.95
Other Formats Available:
Weighing In takes on the “obesity epidemic,” challenging many widely held assumptions about its causes and consequences. Julie Guthman examines fatness and its relationship to health outcomes to ask if our efforts to prevent “obesity” are sensible, efficacious, or ethical. She also focuses the lens of obesity on the broader food system to understand why we produce cheap, over-processed food, as well as why we eat it. Guthman takes issue with the currently touted remedy to obesity—promoting food that is local, organic, and farm fresh. While such fare may be tastier and grown in more ecologically sustainable ways, this approach can also reinforce class and race inequalities and neglect other possible explanations for the rise in obesity, including environmental toxins. Arguing that ours is a political economy of bulimia—one that promotes consumption while also insisting upon thinness—Guthman offers a complex analysis of our entire economic system.
Julie Guthman is Professor of Social Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Agrarian Dreams? The Paradox of Organic Farming in California (UC Press)
“A rich topography of US obesity that accomplishes the difficult feat of challenging the discursive foundations of the ‘obesity crisis’ while critiquing conventional food capitalism. . . . Weighing In is the book that fat studies and critical geographers of fat have been waiting for.”—Deborah McPhail, University of Manitoba Social & Cultural Geography
“Guthman usefully challenges healthism in obesity research and food movements where consumption eclipses production.”—Lee F. Monaghan Sociology Of Health & Illness
“If you have any interest in the causes of obesity, our societal response to the ‘obesity epidemic,’ the role of capitalism in our food system, or want to be challenged with a book that goes against everything the media has told you about weight gain—this will be a rewarding read.”—Serious Eats
"A bold, compelling challenge to conventional thinking about obesity and its fixes, Weighing In is one of the most important books on food politics to hit the shelves in a long time." —Susanne Freidberg, author of Fresh: A Perishable History

"Weighing In is filled with counterintuitive surprises that should make us skeptics of all kinds of food -- whether local, fast, slow, junk or health -- but also gives us the practical tools to effectively scrutinize the stale buffet of popularly-accepted health wisdom before we digest it." —Paul Robbins, professor of Geography and Development, University of Arizona

"If you liked Michael Pollan, this should be your next read. Guthman gives us the research behind the questions we should be asking, but, falling all over ourselves in the rush to consensus, we have overlooked. A self-described Berkeley foodie, Guthman takes on the self-satisfaction of the alternative food movement and places it in rich context, drawing on research in health, economics, labor, agriculture, sociology, and politics. This marvelous, surprising book is a true game-changer in our national conversation about food and justice." —Anna Kirkland, author of Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood

“This groundbreaking book calls into question the ubiquitous claim that ‘good food’ will solve the social and health dilemmas of today. Combining political economic analysis, cultural critique, and clear explanation of scientific discoveries, the author challenges our deeply held convictions about society, food, bodies, and environments.” —Becky Mansfield, editor of Privatization: Property and the Remaking of Nature-Society Relations

"Step back from that farmer's market -- Guthman shows us that good foods and good eating are not enough. By questioning the fuzzy facts on obesity, the impact of environment, and capitalism's relentless push to consume, Weighing In challenges us to think harder, and better, about what it really takes to be healthy in the modern age." —Carolyn de la Peña, author of Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweetener from Saccharin to Splenda

ASFS Book Award, Association for the Study of Food and Society

Finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award, Society for the Study of Social Problems

James M. Blaut Innovative Publication Award, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group of the Association of American Ge

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podcast interview of Julie Guthman, author of Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism.

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