Obesity and tourism: Rights and responsibilities

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Annals of Tourism Research, 2012, 39 (2), pp. 686 - 707
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Not all tourist bodies are of the slim build valorised in tourism promotional material; an increasing number are overweight or obese. The paper reports a web-based study which employed Critical Discourse Analysis to investigate the airline experiences of obese and non-obese passengers, and airline policies/guidelines for travel of obese passengers. The findings revealed that industry silence on obesity contrasted with the vocalisation of the passengers, especially non-obese passengers. Rights were contested and " fat" stigma was clearly apparent. These findings can be understood through Social Identity Theory and neo-liberalist discourse which stresses self-responsibility for fitting societal prescriptions of beauty and health/fitness. The paper concludes that an alternative discourse is required if all sized passengers are to experience social justice in tourism. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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