Bodies need yoga? No plastic surgery! Naturalistic versus instrumental bodies among professions in the Danish healthcare field

Kristian Larsen*, Anette Lykke Hindhede, Mikkel Haderup Larsen, Mathias Holst Nicolaisen, Frederik Møller Henriksen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


What characterises the similarities and differences in body investments among professions in the Danish healthcare field? This can be important when healthcare professionals relate to each other and to bodies of patients regarding differences in class, gender, age, and disease group. The study takes inspiration from Bourdieu’s sociology and the concept of health capital. We ask whether health capital can explain distinctions in the empirical data? We used the explorative–descriptive method multicorrespondence analysis (MCA) on data from 440 respondents gathered through an online survey. The respondents range from chief physicians to healthcare students. MCA makes it possible to condense frequency statistics and examine patterns of body investments through an examination of variables such as food intake, exercise, and medicine use that are then further related to supplementary variables such as social class and age. The analysis supports the concept of health capital and shows that some groups in the Danish healthcare field have a more instrumental body perception, such as the young age group (e.g. open to surgery, consume medicine, high exercise), while the upper-middle-class and older respondents have a more naturalistic perception of the body (e.g. read often, eat vegetables, practice yoga).

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Body investment
  • Bourdieu
  • Distinction
  • Health capital
  • Healthcare field
  • Multicorrespondence analysis (MCA)

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