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Weight of ObesityHunger and Global Health in Postwar Guatemala$
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Emily Yates-Doerr

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286818

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286818.001.0001

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Contemporary Body Counts

Contemporary Body Counts

Chapter:
(p.111) Chapter 4 Contemporary Body Counts
Source:
Weight of Obesity
Author(s):

Emily Yates-Doerr

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520286818.003.0005

Chapter 4 focuses on how Guatemalan men and women were stigmatized on the basis of weight and uses this fact to consider how the classification of bodies as normal, overweight, and obese relates to the measurement practices of nineteenth-century scientific racism. In the nineteenth century, scientists and public officials working in Latin America used the measurement of biological forms to delineate discrete racial types. The chapter suggests that concern about obesity relates to this earlier practice of race-making—that measurement of obesity becomes a way of instantiate social hierarchy through biological form. Though discourses of weight management portrayed social and civic inclusion as “accessible to all” (a diet-product slogan), my fieldwork showed that the ability to obtain lightness of weight—and race—remained rooted in historical, economic, and biological forces that lay beyond individual self-control.

Keywords:   race, race-sex-gender matrix, Latin America, blood, fat, genocide, violence, dieting, Guatemala

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