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Neither a sinner nor a saint: Health as a present-day religion in the age of healthism
Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8173-9242
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: Social Theory & Health, ISSN 1477-8211, E-ISSN 1477-822X, Vol. 14, no 1, 129-148 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Western societies, religious imagery is often used in conjunction with the topic ‘health’ in this biomedicalized, healthistic time, but is that enough to qualify the structural characteristics of the presentations and practices of health as a present-day health religion? And what may be gained by adopting such a perspective? This article explores these questions by a hermeneutical rereading, using a comprehensive list of 10 religious features derived from the sociology of religion on texts describing (a) religiously charged health phenomena, (b) the interconnection between health and society and (c) health theories. The results show that health can rightfully be called a religion, with characteristics resembling Weber’s protestant work ethic, which may accelerate the formation of a new economic and health-related underclass. Viewing health from a religious angle has the potential of introducing new concepts and ideas of religious origin into the sphere of health. We believe that this introduction will facilitate and inspire new ways of thinking about health which add a ‘religious edge’ to the seeming rationality of health, that is, an emotionalized commitment to health as a dignified authority, which an understanding of health as a moral obligation hardly captures. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Vol. 14, no 1, 129-148 p.
Keyword [en]
representations of health, religion, power, healthism, commitment
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-30099DOI: 10.1057/sth.2015.21ISI: 000368960800007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84954193511OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-30099DiVA: diva2:889361
Available from: 2015-12-23 Created: 2015-12-23 Last updated: 2017-05-15Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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