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Type: Journal article
Title: In the name of the child: the gendered politics of childhood obesity
Author: Zivkovic, T.
Warin, M.
Davies, M.
Moore, V.
Citation: Journal of Sociology, 2010; 46(4 Sp Iss):375-392
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 1440-7833
Statement of
Tanya Zivkovic, Megan Warin, Michael Davies and Vivienne Moore
Abstract: This paper investigates the ways in which ‘the child’ is positioned in obesity debates and, in doing so, examines the discursive relations between childhood obesity, mothering and child neglect. Using legal cases of parental neglect and an analysis of representations of obesity in Australian print media, we argue that a particular constellation of ‘child politics’ in which children are represented as innocent victims of poor parenting is at play. Parenting, however, is a code for mothers and it is their gendered responsibility for food and families for which they are now being held legally culpable in cases of neglect. The relation¬ship between children and mothers has become the focus of moral discourses around childhood obesity, containing contradictory elements of innocence and risk, responsibility and danger. The intersection of child politics, mothering and individualized responsibility not only illuminates the ways in which gender is absent yet centrally implicated in obesity debates and policy, but also highlights how models of neoliberal governance encompass both State and decentralized forms of power in their attempt to regulate excess bodies.
Keywords: Childhood
child politics
neoliberal governance
Rights: © 2010 The Australian Sociological Association
DOI: 10.1177/1440783310384456
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