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Obese adults' perceptions of news reporting on obesity: the panopticon and synopticon at work

Couch, Danielle, Thomas, Samantha, Lewis, Sophie, Blood, R. Warwick and Komesaroff, Paul 2015, Obese adults' perceptions of news reporting on obesity: the panopticon and synopticon at work, Sage open, vol. 5, no. 4, October- December, pp. 1-14, doi: 10.1177/2158244015612522.

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Title Obese adults' perceptions of news reporting on obesity: the panopticon and synopticon at work
Author(s) Couch, Danielle
Thomas, Samantha
Lewis, Sophie
Blood, R. Warwick
Komesaroff, Paul
Journal name Sage open
Volume number 5
Issue number 4
Season October- December
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Sage
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 2158-2440
Keyword(s) obesity
media and society
surveillance
panopticon
social control
Summary News reporting, in channels such as broadcast and print media, on obesity as an issue has increased dramatically in the last decade. A qualitative study, in which we used in-depth interviews and thematic analysis, was undertaken to explore 142 obese individuals’ perceptions of, and responses to, news reporting about obesity. Participants believed that news reporting on obesity focused on personal responsibility and blame, and portrayed obese people as “freaks.” They described being portrayed as “enemies” of society who were rarely given a voice or identity in such news coverage unless they were seen to be succeeding at weight loss. They were also critical of the simplistic coverage of obesity, which was in contrast with their personal experiences of obesity as complex and difficult to address. Participants believed that obesity news reporting added to the discrimination they experienced. We consider how this news reporting may act as a form of “synoptical” social control, working in tandem with wider public health panoptical surveillance of obesity.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/2158244015612522
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30079677

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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