Not ‘Taking the Easy Way Out’: Reframing Bariatric Surgery from Low-effort Weight Loss to Hard Work

Sarah Trainer, Alexandra Slade, Amber Wutich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cultural notions equating greater morality and virtue with hard work and productive output are deeply embedded in American value systems. This is exemplified in how people understand and execute personal body projects, including efforts to become slim. Bariatric surgery is commonly viewed as a ‘low-effort’ means of losing weight, and individuals who opt for this surgery are often perceived to be ‘cheating.’ This extended ethnographic study within one bariatric program in the Southwestern United States shows how patients conscientiously perform this productivity. By prioritizing discourses that focus on their own hard work and the inherent value and necessity of their surgery, patients and practitioners alike contest the dominant public views of surgically-induced weight loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-110
Number of pages15
JournalAnthropology and Medicine
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

Keywords

  • Obesity
  • bariatric
  • body projects
  • moral work
  • weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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