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Title: Ashamed bodies : the struggle into changing body ideals
Author: Alqutub, Khulod Ragheb A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 3007
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2018
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Women’s body shape and weight is a topic of everyday conversation in Saudi Arabia. A generation ago it was not. Daily newspaper cartoons satirise women’s battle with weight and show a rapid and significant shift of how a woman’s body in the Saudi society should be now: a thin and fit body. In the past, larger, usually married women were a common sight receiving little commentary from popular culture and from people’s everyday conventions. Gym work and exercise were seen as inappropriate for women, and there were no diet foods or clinics. There has been a substantial change and increase with women-only gyms and special diet clinics, diet foods and a change to view the thin and fit body as the contemporary ideal. Using a conceptual combination of work by Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, this thesis explores the socio-cultural factors influencing women’s application of weight management practices in Saudi Arabian context. The thesis examines this change from 6 mother-daughter cases, describing the socio-cultural factors that influence women’s use of different disciplining-body-technologies and documenting the experiences and changing subjectivities of Saudi women. One-to-one interviews, participant-diaries, and researcher-observation at women-only-family gatherings, form this mixed-qualitative approach. Ideas and ideals, norms and stigma about body size and shape across generations and within families are reported. I bring empirical focus to the interconnections between the social and individual body, how body work is both inherited within families and shaped by the forms of symbolic power valued at different times, body docility as obedient and productive, and family-body habitus as it relates to body-disciplinary-technology practices. I signal the everyday experiences/expressions of a contemporary social life expressed by participants and which also makes visible those influences that structure individual experience but which individuals might be little aware of – yet can be evidenced in their narratives. This thesis contributes to the establishment of an understanding towards the complex dynamics of social and cultural factors in forming and reforming women’s feminine subjectivities; and the way they participate in weight management practices in the Saudi Arabian context.
Supervisor: Davies, Andrea ; Tsaousi, Christiana Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available