Fat in Four Cultures: A Global Ethnography of Weight

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University of Toronto Press, Jun 27, 2021 - 208 pages

Traits that signal belonging dictate our daily routines, including how we eat, move, and connect to others. In recent years, "fat" has emerged as a shared anchor in defining who belongs and is valued versus who does not and is not. The stigma surrounding weight transcends many social, cultural, political, and economic divides. The concern over body image shapes not only how we see ourselves, but also how we talk, interact, and fit into our social networks, communities, and broader society.

Fat in Four Cultures is a co-authored comparative ethnography that reveals the shared struggles and local distinctions of how people across the globe are coping with a bombardment of anti-fat messages. Highlighting important differences in how people experience "being fat," the cases in this book are based on fieldwork by five anthropologists working together, simultaneously, in four different sites across the globe: Japan, the United States, Paraguay, and Samoa.

Through these cases, Fat in Four Cultures considers what insights can be gained through systematic, cross-cultural comparison. Written in a highly eye-opening, narrative-driven style, with key terms clearly defined and consistently used, this book effectively explores a series of fundamental questions about the present and future of fat and obesity.

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About the author (2021)

Cindi SturtzSreetharan is an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.

Alexandra Brewis is President's Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.

Jessica Hardin is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Sarah Trainer is the SU ADVANCE Program and Research Coordinator at Seattle University.

Amber Wutich is President's Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.

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