Date of Award

5-20-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Degree Program

Sociology

Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Jenkins, Pamela

Second Advisor

Luft, Rachel

Third Advisor

Mann, Susan

Fourth Advisor

Baxter, Vern

Abstract

In this paper, I expand on poststructuralist and feminist theories of the body, gender, and subjectivity through an analysis of media discourse on childhood obesity. Through textual and narrative analyses of news segments on childhood obesity, I demonstrate that the obese child's body, as an abnormal body, is represented as a text of the 'abnormal' conditions in which that body is produced. Thus, the single-mother family structure and/or nonwhite and working class families -- families saturated with the excessive, out-of-control subjectivity of the Other-- are visible on the excessive, out-ofcontrol body of the obese child. I will argue that the discourse surrounding childhood obesity is indicative of a moral panic, where children's bodies are used to express a fear of the destabilization of the normative family structure and a fear of an irrational, excessive, over-consuming society saturated with the subjectivity of the Other.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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