Technologies of fitness: CrossFit, body politics and embodied wellbeing.

Wellard, I. (2016) Technologies of fitness: CrossFit, body politics and embodied wellbeing. In: 4EASST Conference BCN - Science and Technology by Other Means, August 31st - Sept 3rd 2016, Barcelona.

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The recent rapid growth of the ‘fitness industry’ has created new knowledge about the body influenced by technologies of fitness that are informed by science, health imperatives, consumer markets and social constructions of the fit (or ideal) body (Pronger 2002). These new forms of knowledge generate complex relationships of power that are expressed internally and externally by individuals. However, these relationships of power are not presented as acts upon other individuals, they are, as Foucault (1978) suggests, actions upon another actions. Foucault provides a useful theoretical model to assist further understanding of the contemporary healthy body, where surveillance is operated in a range of complex ways both by the individual and upon the individual by society. Central to the formation of ‘knowledge’ about the body are technologies of fitness that are legitimised and sanctioned through claims of scientific ‘truths’. By incorporating historical analysis of the emergence of ideas that were constructed in arbitrary ways, Foucault’s genealogical approach revealed ‘regimes of truth’ (Foucault 1980:131) that were not consciously imposed by one dominant group over another but are constantly being reformulated through new ways of thinking. While it is not the intention in this paper, to present a genealogy of power within the context of health and fitness, the focus is, nevertheless, an attempt to understand the will to truth operating in relation to ‘wellbeing’ and individual pursuits of fitness. By using the example of CrossFit, and recent auto-ethnographic research conducted whilst taking part in a period of intensive CrossFit training, the three central questions that Foucault (1985) considered crucial in the process of forming enunciative modalities are considered. Posing these questions allows us to reveal the relationships of power that are informed by contemporary public policy, body politics, medical and scientific theory and broader discourses of contemporary western capitalism.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Ian Wellard
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2016 09:16
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 09:16

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00