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Troubling the Notion of the ‘Stone Age’ in Health Promotion: a gender analysis
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences. (STIHF)
University of Wollongong, Dept. of Education.
2012 (English)In: AARE-APERA 2012, 2012Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper describes and discusses how gender is constituted in a Swedish workplace health promotion intervention which focused on diet and physical activity, through the resources of what we have called a ‘Stone Age’ discourse. The paper draws on material gathered for a larger study that examined how discourses of health are contextualized in educational practice and interaction between educators and participants in four different workplace health promotion interventions. The purpose of the interventions was to help employees change (improve) their lifestyle as concerns dietary and physical activity habits. Data was collected for the original study by ethnographic methods such as participation observation of the interaction between educators and participants. Foucault’s ideas about governmentality were utilized in analyzing the interactions in order to investigate how health discourses were drawn on and the technologies of power and of the self by which the participants were governed and invited to govern themselves in the name of health. From these analyses, various discourses were identified on which the participants and particularly the educators drew to constitute the healthy employee. One of these was a discourse, which in this paper is called a ‘Stone Age’ discourse, because of the ways in which the differences in men and women’s health were explained in its most overt form by reference to women as gatherers and men as hunters, with men as a result positioned as the physically, emotionally and mentally ideal and women as the problematic and lacking ‘Other’. While this discourse, in this form, may be unique to Scandinavian countries, this paper will nevertheless indicate how this notion corresponds to ideas from evolutionary theory and medicine in international research on health and wellness. This paper will also discuss the implications of such ideas about health and gender for interventions aimed at changing behavior and lifestyles. The paper will provide a discussion of the specific rationalities, truths and techniques that informed the 'Stone Age' discourse, as these contributed to shaping desires, actions and beliefs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keyword [en]
Workplace health promotion, evolutionary health promotion, Stone Age, gender
National Category
Pedagogy Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-12792OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-12792DiVA: diva2:550446
Conference
Joint international Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) and the Asia Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA) and the Focal Meeting of the World Education Research Association (WERA), Sydney, December 2-6, 2012.
Available from: 2012-09-07 Created: 2012-09-07 Last updated: 2012-09-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf