Er samfundet kun for sunde borgere?

Mette Haaning Andresen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


Abstract This Master Thesis, Is society only for healthy citizens? - A study of the National Board of Health’s articulation of obesity in the publication "OPSPORING AF OVERVÆGT OG TIDLIG INDSATS for børn og unge i skolealderen, examines how obesity is expressed by the Health Protection Agency in the publication OPSPORING AF OVERVÆGT. In line with my social constructivism approach I want to examine what discourses and narratives exists when it comes to overweight children. I wish to do so in order to identify the impact that the articulation has when it comes to working with public health, especially when dealing with issues such as obesity and what consequence this articulation has on the placement of responsibilities and the management techniques expressed thereby. The theoretical framework is based on three different concepts; health, risk and power. Firstly I am focusing on health as a socially constructed phenomenon. Professor Karen Wistoft argues that health is often used as a moralizing concept that requires a specific and proper health behavior and that the perception of health is both historically, and culturally determined. Secondly I will present the theory of sociologist Ulrich Beck who argues that the notion of risk has been central in modern society and that we have moved from an industrial society to a risk society. This leads me to the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault's understanding of power, especially his concept of governmentality will be highlighted. He argued that we have experienced a revolution in the power structure of society and points to how the new management technique can be used to create productive citizens. The analysis is based on Professor of Linguistics, Norman Faircloghs deteriorating discourse analysis and his three-dimensional model that makes it possible to focus on the three levels; text, discursive practice and social practice. The analysis of the thesis seeks to uncover which discourses health authorities draw on in their understanding of obesity and whether or not they manage to allow any other notion and understanding, other than their own, when it comes to defining the meaning of health. It becomes clear in the analysis, that both the scientific discourse and risk discourse dominates in the Agency’s understanding of health and obesity. Risk is an important element in the Agency's management technique, through which they are trying to create healthy, responsible and productive citizens. The dominant discourses contributes to overweight children being conceived as a risk, not only to themselves and their health but also to society who are unhealthy, ignorant and without the ability to make healthy choices. Questions are raised for both the kids and the parents' abilities to control their health, so they become a target for health advice. The body's physical appearance becomes crucial when our health is assessed while several scientific studies show that overweight people live longer and more and more people are criticizing the anti-obesity approach, pointing to inconsistencies. Despite of this, it seems as though the National Board of Health does not leave much room for any other health understandings, than the ones established in society such as waist measurements and BMI in their articulation which leads to stigmatizing practices in the health promotion field.

UddannelserSundhedsfremme og Sundhedsstrategier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato28 jun. 2016
VejledereBirgit Land


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  • Overvægtige børn