‘Change4Life for your kids’: embodied collectives and public health pedagogy

Bethan Evans, Rachel Colls and Kathrin Hörschelmann have written a paper on the insights offered by contemporary work in human geography on relationality to critical understandings of health pedagogies with a case study analysis of the change4life campaign. This is published as part of a special edition of the journal Sport, Education and Society (vol. 16, issue 3) edited by John Evans and Brian Davies which aims to explore the “transdisciplinary study of body pedagogies”, to celebrate “theoretical and methodological diversity in the social sciences” and which calls for “border crossings between the disciplines and perspectives of the social and bio-physical sciences in the interest of better understanding how social and cultural reproduction occurs both within schools and beyond them”. The abstract and full reference is pasted below:

Evans, B., Colls, R. and Hörschelmann, K. (2011) ‘Change4Life for your kids’: embodied collectives and public health pedagogy. Sport, Education and Society, 16:3, 323-341

Recent work in human geography has begun to explore the fluidity of bodily boundaries and to foreground the connectedness of bodies to other bodies/objects/places. Across multiple subdisciplinary areas, including health, children’s and feminist geographies, geographers have begun to challenge the notion of a singular, bounded body by highlighting the importance of, for example, relations of care and intergenerationality to everyday embodied experiences; remembered past/anticipated future bodies to self-perception and body image; affect/emotion to the production of embodied collectives; and connections to distant and proximate others to understandings of embodied rights and responsibility. In this paper we will review these areas of work in order to explore the ways in which this geographical work on embodied connections might contribute to recent debates concerning public health pedagogy and the production of embodied and emotional collectives in education. This will involve an analysis of the recent anti-obesity Change4Life campaign in the UK; used in this context as a way to explore how the campaign attempts to produce healthy bodies through a form of pedagogy which is centred upon notions of embodied connectivities and collectives.

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