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Fat chat : an exploration of obesity discourses in Canadian media and their impacts on social work

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posted on 2021-05-24, 12:56 authored by Samantha Abel
This Major Research Paper conducted a critical discourse analysis of Canadian Press articles focused on obesity. This research sought to understand how the articles constructed obesity, what discourses were operating, and what power relations were at play. The three main discourses that shaped the articles were mother blame, the medical model, and economics. They became evident through photographs, language used, gendered power relations, medicalized understandings of health and solutions to obesity, and who was profiting or benefitting from these understandings and solutions. Social work practitioners and educators need to consider these discourses when conceptualizing obesity, and strive to contextualize individual experiences of fatness within broader structural and systemic power relations. Social workers also need to be cautious about reproducing oppressive anti-obesity practices, social work is a profession that has historically been an agent of social control and discipline.



Master of Social Work


Social Work

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type