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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


What characterises the similarities and differences in body investments among pro-fessions in the Danish healthcare field? This can be important when healthcare pro-fessionals 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 sociol-ogy and the concept of health capital. We ask whether health capital can explain distinctions in the empirical data? We used the explorative–descriptive method mul-ticorrespondence 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 per-ception, 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 naturalis-tic perception of the body (e.g. read often, eat vegetables, practice yoga).
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Number of pages20
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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