Big Bodies Dancing: reflections on doing fat research

Colls, Rachel (2010) Big Bodies Dancing: reflections on doing fat research. [Video] (Unpublished)

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Recording of presentation given at Vital Signs 2 Conference, 7-9 September 2010, University of Manchester Recent work in geography and beyond has begun develop critical accounts of obesity and obesity science which include challenging and providing alternatives to medical knowledges that link obesity to ill-health, identifying and legislating against forms of discrimination associated with body size and developing various activist strategies, including academic, artistic and online and real-life initiatives in order to counter dominant understandings of the fat body and to provide support for and to celebrate fat bodies. This paper is informed and inspired by this work and centres upon research carried out ‘with’ fat bodies in a ‘size accepting space’. This space was a nightclub event for Big Beautiful (BBW) and Big Beautiful Men (BBM) and their admirers (FA or fat admirers). The research involved periods of participant observation in the night club space, interviews and online questionnaires with participants and discussion boards on social networking site with attendees of the club. The paper will reflect upon particular methodological issues I experienced when conducting fieldwork concerned specifically with how to narrate, position and move my body within a ‘size accepting space’, how to capture fat and the relations between, within and upon fat bodies, beyond a purely visual register and how to ‘perform’ the identity and politics of the research across a range of social and professional settings. In carrying out the research, it has become important to think about how the fat subject and ‘fat’ researcher is constituted at different stages of the research process in ways which both facilitate the politics of size acceptance and yet which also question the capacity of the researcher and the research itself to adequately ‘re-present’ fatness back to fat bodies.

Item Type:Video
Uncontrolled Keywords:Realities, positioning, participation, authentic knowledge
Subjects:4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.23 Qualitative Approaches (other)
ID Code:1649
Deposited By: Realities user
Deposited On:22 Dec 2010 13:57
Last Modified:10 Jan 2011 11:51

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