TRAINING THE BODY FOR HEALTHISM: REIFYING VITALITY IN AND THROUGH THE CLINICAL GAZE OF THE NEOLIBERAL FITNESS CLUB
Wiest, Amber Lynn
Andrews, David L
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Against the backdrop of changing understandings of (public) `health' and `fitness' in the contemporary United States, and through a nuanced critique of healthism (Crawford, 1980; Kirk & Colquhoun, 1989; Skrabanek, 1994), the aim of this project is to investigate how mediated renditions of `healthiness' are constructed and maneuvered in the for-profit fitness industry--and interrogate the non-necessary interrelationship between health, fitness, and (bio)citizenship in the historical present (Grossberg, 2006). This is examined through a critical explication of Amber's experiences and observations drawn from her period of (ethnographic) employment in the fitness industry. Focusing specifically on personal training as a biotechnological and pedagogical tool, we explicate how personal training becomes complicit in the communication of particular "healthist" understandings, which unerringly benefit private enterprise (as well as corroborate a pervasive political individualism) through the normalization of the individual's moral responsibility to embody, practice, and ultimately consume healthist practices and ideologies.