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April 2017
University of New Mexico Press

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Fat Planet

Obesity, Culture, and Symbolic Body Capital
Edited by: 
Alexandra Brewis Slade
Eileen P. Anderson-Fye

The average size of human bodies all over the world has been steadily rising over recent decades. The total count of people clinically labeled “obese” is now at least three times what it was in 1980. "Fat Planet" represents a collaborative effort to consider at a global scale what fat stigma is and what it does to people. Making use of an array of social science perspectives applied in multiple settings, the authors examine the interplay of weight, wealth, history, culture and meaning to fat and its social rejection. They explore the notion of symbolic body capital — the power of non-fat bodies to do what people need or want. In so doing, they illustrate the complex and quickly shifting dynamics in thinking about fat — often considered personal, yet powerfully influenced by and influential upon the broader world in which we live.


Alexandra Brewis Slade is a President's Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. As an anthropologist, she focuses on how health-related stigma shapes human biology, health and suffering. She is also concerned with such challenges as water insecurity, improving development project design and monitoring, and properly tailored anti-obesity efforts.