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Fit for Postmodern Selfhood

Fit for Postmodern Selfhood

(p.215) 8 Fit for Postmodern Selfhood
Symbolic Interaction and Cultural Studies
Barry Glassner
University of Chicago Press

A widespread interest in the pursuit of fitness has been documented among the middle and upper classes in national surveys and in the market success of magazines such as American Health, New Body, Prevention, and Self. Yet the popular explanations for this interest prove rather anemic. Those who market fitness programs and products, for instance, along with commentators in the media, often put forward a biosocial realist account. They maintain that Americans are merely accepting the well-confirmed scientific evidence for the adaptive and aesthetic superiority of a strong, fat-free body. In actuality, reviews of the research literature raise serious doubts as to whether exercise, weight control, or changes in diet do improve longevity or afford significant protection against disease and psychological distress. Although some fitness enthusiasts distinguish between “fitness” and “health,” the two have become generally synonymous in everyday usage. This chapter discusses fitness, selfhood, postmodernity, and the link between symbolic interaction and modernity.

Keywords:   fitness, selfhood, symbolic interaction, modernity, postmodernity, health

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