Beleaguered Bodies: Illness and Obesity in Neoliberal Australia

  • Catie Gressier


Half a century of unprecedented wealth and prosperity has, somewhat paradoxically, resulted in growing numbers of Australians living with chronic illness, overweight and obesity. The foregrounding of individual responsibility within the nation’s healthcare ideology has resulted in those whose bodies do not conform to the healthy, slender ideal being blamed and subject to stigma. In this chapter, I explore neoliberal constructions of the body through Paleo dieters’ lived experience of illness and obesity. I argue that the popularity of the Paleo diet is the result of both the internalisation of and resistance to neoliberal values. This is insofar as Paleo is an individualist response to perceptions of a failing food system that prioritises market freedom over human health.


Paleo diet Illness experience Obesity Neoliberalism Anthropology 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Political SciencesThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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