Call for Abstracts: Against Healthisms in JCD Special Issue

We are delighted to announce the following call for abstracts for a Journal of Critical Dietetics special issue entitled:

Against Healthisms: Challenging the Paradigm of “Eating Right”

In much of food studies, public health, and medicine among other disciplines and professional fields, there appears to be a ubiquitous and seemingly anodyne embrace of the “imperative of health” (Lupton, 1995). Metzl (2010) explains “…‘health’ is a term replete with value judgments, hierarchies, and blind assumptions that speak as much about power and privilege as they do about well-being. Health is a desired state, but it is also a prescribed state and an ideological position” (p. 1-2). We, as scholars of Critical Dietetics, heed the call to trouble and contest the concept of “health”, while at the same time we recognize that profound social inequities exist around the pursuit and delivery of health and wellbeing. The persistence of these inequities demand that we take a critical stance against health, healthisms, and normative framings of “eating right”. This collection will question how health is defined, who gives and receives health, for what purposes, through what means, and to what ends, with a specific focus on diet, nutrition, and “eating right”. We contend that within a heightened neoliberal fervour to promote health comes an uneasy reluctance to question the moral grounds on which health and eating resides. We recognize the stigmatizing, colonizing, normalizing, medicalizing, and consumerist rhetoric that permeates health and eating discourses and the creation and promotion of dietetic knowledge. Scholarly critiques following few or many strands could complicate the cultural or systemic dedication to dominant nutritional rhetoric and reveal counter-hegemonic discourses that enable critical questions to emerge regarding the moral imperative towards health through eating practices (Lupton, 2017). We proceed on the premise that the concept of “health”, particularly as it pertains to “healthy eating”, is not immune to excavation of the “…ideologies, structures, base pairs, and blind assumptions involved in its construction” (Metzl and Kirkland, 2010, p. 4-5). Topics in this collection may cover but are not limited to the following: the white-washing of dietary advice, fat phobia and healthy eating discourse, ableism and “eating right”, beyond nutricentric food discourse, and queering “healthy eating”.

With this in mind, we issue a call for abstracts for a special issue of Against Healthisms: Challenging the Paradigm of “Eating Right” to appear in the September 2019 issue of the Journal of Critical Dietetics. Please submit a 300- to 500-word abstract regarding your position “against healthisms” for review by November 15, 2018. Email abstract submissions to Alissa Overend. The authors of successful abstracts will be notified by December 15, 2018. Full papers (up to 5000 words) will be expected by April 15, 2019 and will undergo full peer review prior to publication.


Lupton, D. (2017). Digital health: Critical and cross-disciplinary perspectives. London: Routledge.

Lupton (1995). The imperative of health: Public health and the regulated body, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Ltd.

Metzl, J. (2010). “Introduction”, In, Metzl, J., & Kirkland, A. R. (eds). Against health: How health became the new morality. New York: New York University Press.


Abstracts Due: November 15, 2018
Abstracts Reviewed: December 15, 2018
Full papers Due: April 15, 2019
Peer Review Due: May 15, 2019
Congress (Vancouver): June 1-7, 2019
Edited Papers Due: June 15, 2019
Publication: September 2019

Guest Editors

Alissa Overend, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, MacEwan University
Adele Hite, North Carolina State University
Andrea Noriega, Carleton University
Meredith Bessey, Mount Saint Vincent University

Call for Abstracts – Against Healthisms (PDF)


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