The Psychology of Overeating

The Psychology of Overeating

Food and the Culture of Consumerism

Book - 2015
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Drawing on empirical research, clinical case material and vivid examples from modern culture, The Psychology of Overeating demonstrates that obesity must be understood as part of the wider cultural problem of consumption and materialism. Highlighting modern society's pathological need to consume, Kima Cargill explores how our limitless consumer culture offers an endless array of delicious food as well as easy money whilst obscuring the long-term effects of overconsumption.
The book investigates how developments in food science, branding and marketing have transformed Western diets and how the food industry employs psychology to trick us into eating more and more - and why we let them. Drawing striking parallels between 'Big Food' and 'Big Pharma', Cargill shows how both industries use similar tactics to manufacture desire, resist regulation and convince us that the solution to overconsumption is further consumption. Real-life examples illustrate how loneliness, depression and lack of purpose help to drive consumption, and how this is attributed to individual failure rather than wider culture.
The first book to introduce a clinical and existential psychology perspective into the field of food studies, Cargill's interdisciplinary approach bridges the gulf between theory and practice. Key reading for students and researchers in food studies, psychology, health and nutrition and anyone wishing to learn more about the relationship between food and consumption.
Publisher: London, UK : Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2015.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781472581075
1472581075
Branch Call Number: 616.8526 CARGI
Characteristics: xi, 198 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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MichelleinBallard
Jul 17, 2016

Author Kargill eschews a moralistic approach to the subject of obesity and overeating, instead choosing a wholistic approach that looks at how individual choices are embedded in, shaped, and limited by larger external forces. Kargill demonstrates a keen understanding of the interplay between individual psychology, culture, and economic forces.

My one criticism would be that she is silent on the prospects of organized consumer interrogation of and resistance to profit-driven market actors and instead relies on a failed governmental regulation model. This begs the question: If you think you can mobilize people to push forward an effective governmental regulatory scheme then why not just channel and harness that energy in a non-governmental organization(s) that would, in principle, be much more difficult for corporations to coopt and would engage and empower consumers, individually and collectively?

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KorieV
May 30, 2016

While some of the ideas presented in the book may be worth considering, the moralistic, "holier-than-God" approach that the author takes was very off-putting, and undermines her credibility as a competent researcher. She rails against capitalism and western culture, but didn't show any educated understanding of economics or social systems that might provide realistic solutions to the criticisms she has of capitalism and western cultures.

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