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“Fat Americans”: On the Notion of ‘National’ and ‘Natural’ in Contemporary German Health- and Obesity-Discourses

Tanja Robnik, LMU Munich

This research project looks at bodies and body weight from an intersectional and transatlantic perspective. Asking how ‘the other’ emerges and becomes evident through German health- and obesity-discourses, we find the ‘fat American’ is a noticeable point of reference.

As the project shows, anti-American prejudices serve to construct obesity as a health issue within German–speaking context. Thereby, the idea of ‘America’ as a symbol seems to be a projection surface for various moral and normative ideas. These projections underpin the idea of German ‘Natürlichkeit’ (naturalness) and superiority as opposed to American ‘Künstlichkeit’ (artificiality) lacking a sense for culture and tradition. Additionally, the project researches whether the symbol of the ‘fat American’ shows milieu-specific differences.

Tanja Robnik is a research assistant and PhD student at the department of Sociology, LMU Munich. Her academic interests are the sociology of the body and food, theory of society, sociology of religion and qualitative methods of empirical social research.

Tanja Robnik at LMU Munich …