Whose body is it anyway? A sociological reflection upon fitness and wellbeing

Wellard, I. (2018) Whose body is it anyway? A sociological reflection upon fitness and wellbeing. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN Paperback - 97811389514/ Hardback - 97811389507.

Full text not available from this repository.


There is a widespread interest in wellbeing, the healthy body and public health. However, there are also many simplistic and uncritical interpretations of what wellbeing or a healthy body should ‘look like’. By focusing upon wellbeing through examples taken from fitness related activities, which are often considered unproblematic routes to achieving wellbeing and greater public health, this book explores contemporary understandings of the body and the conflicting ways in which it is considered, in different contexts, times and spaces, either as the possession of the individual or that of society (or both).

The book adopts an embodied approach, employing sociological theory along with examples drawn from empirical research collected through participation (by the author) in an intense period of physical training. The intention is to explore the embodied experiences of ‘doing’ an intensive period of physical activity and, subsequently, attempt to understand, in more depth, the range of personal, social, psychological and physical factors that undoubtedly contribute to engaging in such an activity.

The emerging story reveals much about the physical and emotional experience of a body being put through intensive exercise. Not only in terms of contrasting forms of pleasure and pain, but also various socio-cultural ‘issues’ relating to relationships of power, trust and the role of ‘expert’ health advisor. Indeed, while there is growing support for exercise as a form of ‘medicine’, embodied approaches that recognise subjective experience may provide a note of caution to simplistic messages that suggest physical activity is an automatic route to achieving wellbeing and health. Consequently, this book reveals some of the limitations of current thinking about the body and appeals for more reflective, embodied investigation, analysis and theoretical explanation of the moving body.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706 Sports psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706.5 Sports sociology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R0726.7 Health psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0773 Personal health and hygiene
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Ian Wellard
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 16:19
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2019 14:09
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16807

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

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