Bio-citizenship: Virtue discourses and the birth of the bio-citizen

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This chapter describes the emergence of a new species of human beingthe bio-citizen. The bio-citizen is a product of an era of escalating anxiety in the public imagination about an international pandemic of overweight and obesity. A Google of the word ‘obesity’ generates millions of references that increase in number on a daily basis e.g., 32,600,000 items (3 January 2008), 33,600,000 (9 June 2008). No-one, media commentators warn, has been left unscathed by the ‘obesity epidemic’:

[m]ake no mistake: the dreaded obesity epidemic that is everywhere in the news is not restricted to any race, creed, ethnicity or slice of the socioeconomic supersized pie. As recent studies reveal, virtually every group known to democracy is getting fatter. Copyright © 2009 Christine Halse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiopolitics and the 'obesity epidemic': Governing bodies
EditorsJan Wright, Valerie Harwood
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781135851859
ISBN (Print)9780415991889 , 9780203882061, 0203882067
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Halse, C. (2009). Bio-citizenship: Virtue discourses and the birth of the bio-citizen. In J. Wright & V. Harwood (Eds.), Biopolitics and the 'obesity epidemic': Governing bodies (pp. 45-59). London: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203882061


  • Obesity
  • Weight loss
  • Public opinion
  • Body mass index

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