Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 159–162 | Cite as

The Biopolitics of Lifestyle: Foucault, Ethics and Healthy Choices

Christopher Mayes, 2016, Routledge (Oxford and New York, 978-1-138-93386-6, 156 pp.)
  • Andrew CooperEmail author
Book Review


Unlike many recent studies on the notion of lifestyle, Christopher Mayes’ The Biopolitics of Lifestyle balances theoretical rigour with empirical investigation to problematize the use of lifestyle in public health strategies. Not only does Mayes’ book expose the unjustified emphasis on individual autonomy undergirding neoliberal strategies of governance and contemporary ethical theory, it also marks a significant step forward in enhancing our understanding of one of Foucault’s most underappreciated concepts, the dispositif. In clearly framing the import of Foucaultian analysis and placing it against the backdrop of the obesity epidemic, Mayes continues his contributions towards a productive space wherein practitioners, social theorists, and ethicists can genuinely and self-reflectively exchange knowledges in order to respond to living issues of ethical import.


Biopolitics Obesity Ethics Foucault Dispositif 


  1. Mayes, C. 2016. The biopolitics of lifestyle: Foucault, ethics and healthy choices. Oxford and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität Bonn, Internationales Zentrum für PhilosophieBonnGermany

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